The Lexus CT200h Is Dead, Though It Was Way More Popular Than the HS250h You Forgot Existed

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

The current 2017 model year will be the last for the Lexus CT200h.

An indirect successor to the Lexus HS250h sedan, the Lexus CT200h will end a seven-year model run in the United States that resulted in more than 90,000 sales.

Imported from Miyawaka, Japan, the Lexus CT has seen its average U.S. monthly output fall 58 percent over the last three years. Never a tremendously popular entry-level luxury car, the hybrid-only Lexus was forced to compete against very successful luxury sedans from Mercedes-Benz and Audi — CLA and A3, respectively — in the latter portion of its tenure.

The Lexus couldn’t compete.

It couldn’t compete with luxury rivals.

It couldn’t compete with high-efficiency hybrids.

It couldn’t compete as an older passenger car design in a market that’s increasingly fond of new crossover designs.

U.S. sales of the Lexus CT200h peaked at the end of its first year. In December 2011, 2,259 copies of the CT200h found U.S. owners. Only on four other occasions did the CT ever manage more than 2,000 monthly sales. Over the last 18 months, Lexus averaged fewer than 800 monthly CT200h sales.

With admittedly much broader lineups, including all-wheel-drive variants, Audi averages nearly 2,500 A3 sales per month in the United States while Mercedes-Benz’s CLA-Class now averages just under 2,000 sales per month. The CT200h is priced from $32,245. The A3’s base MSRP is slightly lower; the CLA’s slightly higher.

Advances in Toyota’s own hybrids also mean the CT200h doesn’t appear as efficient now as it did when it debuted in 2011. Upon its introduction, the CT200h’s 43/40 mpg city/highway ratings compared somewhat favorably with the Toyota Prius’s 49/46 EPA figures.

But the CT200h is still a 43/40 car in an era of 58/53-mpg Prii. While not a direct Prius rival, the Prius’s advances mean the Lexus no longer has the numbers to stand out, particularly since consumers generally consider fuel to be sufficiently inexpensive.

Furthermore, tastes have changed. The CT200h is by no means the only Lexus struggling. Through the first one-third of 2017, passenger car sales at Lexus (excluding the now discontinued CT200h) are down 33 percent, a loss of nearly 13,000 sales, year-over-year, over the span of just four months.

66 percent of Lexus’ U.S. volume is now generated by SUVs/crossovers. Cars produced slightly more than half of all Lexus sales the year the CT200h debuted. As a result, the Lexus CT200h will, in a sense, eventually be replaced by a utility vehicle below the NX, Car And Driver reports.

Thus, a hybrid hatchback dies.



Timothy Cain is the founder of and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • 05lgt 05lgt on May 31, 2017

    What does this car offer that isn't better in a Volt? (known Lexus fanboi and confirmed GM hater here.)

  • Home Advisors Home Advisors on Oct 17, 2017

    I owned the CT200h for a year. I really love the car and the design. However, this car was not made for the Northeast winter; the car was simply horrible in the snow.

  • Darren Mertz I took my dryer in for repair in my 1992 SAAB 900 S and blew away the guy with the hand truck that helped me get the dryer into the store. 3 days later when I went to pick up my dryer - in said SAAB, another helper followed me out to the parking lot and couldn't believe I didn't have some romper-mobile to schlep my appliance back home. He said it would never fit. Ha. My SAAB was also the best for impromptu picnics as you could sit right on the bumper (yes, a real bumper) and even be sheltered from a passing shower under the enormous hatch. No new Stupid Ugly Vehicle for me.
  • Safeblonde You mean Reagan-era in story?
  • Bd2 Just imagine if in 5 decades the Telluride name were to be used on a new line of sporty 2 seater supersonic hovercraft.
  • The Oracle This is a proper plastic turd that has a wee bit ‘o performance.
  • Jalop1991 "Now, it’s an electric crossover wearing a Ford badge that utilizes Volkswagen’s MEB platform...." You misspelled "crossdresser".