By on April 20, 2020

2018 Lexus NX 300h front quarter

Overseas trademark applications are nice, but the significant differences between those markets and our own often make such appearances a harbinger of not much. Europe is far more likely to go green, while American buyers, depending on state, don’t see nearly as much punishment for choosing the least efficient models.

Less taxation and far cheaper fuel conspire with geographical and cultural realities to make green cars a tough sell stateside, even a decade after things really kicked off in earnest.

Which is why the recent appearance of a plug-in hybrid in trademark filings an ocean away were worthy of interest, but no guarantee of U.S. availability. Until now.

You read last week about the little NX, a competent and unexpectedly popular crossover that’s due for a full-on revamp next year. New platform and sheet metal, and new powertrains, as well. A quick trademark search last week showed entries for NX 250 and NX 350; ample evidence that Toyota might shoehorn powertrains found in the Camry into the NX’s TNGA-based successor. Add two more trademarks to the list.

As a new week dawns, NX 350h appears, signifying a hybrid variant, as well as the NX 450h+ that was the focus of last week’s Euro-centric story.

The “+” in this usage clearly points to a plug-in hybrid variant positioned atop the NX totem. Indeed, Lexus looks ready to give its U.S. lineup its first PHEV. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, what with compact crossovers proving a ripe segment for experiments in electrification. Parent corp Toyota’s RAV4 has excelled in this regard. Lexus, however, didn’t exactly set the world on fire with its first conventional hybrid vehicles: the nearly forgotten HS 250h and equally defunct CT 200h, both of which sold poorly. Perhaps they offered too little benefit for their price points; whatever the reason, the buying public wasn’t ready.

As it, along with Toyota, embarks on a concerted electrification effort, Lexus clearly sees greater promise for hybrids in its American lineup, with plug-in hybrids providing a taste of what either brand can’t yet offer: all-electric propulsion, if only for limited distances.

[Image: Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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9 Comments on “U.S. Trademarks Show Hybrid, PHEV Bound for Next-gen Lexus NX...”

  • avatar

    “far cheaper fuel”

    The oversupply situation causing $0 oil won’t last forever (hopefully). Once demand starts going up, I’m not sure if places shutting down now will be able to get back online fast enough to avoid high prices due to undersupply.

    Eventually things should normalize but it is going to be a bumpy 24 months for pretty much everything.

  • avatar

    NX 350h probably points to the 240-system-hp version of the Camry Hybrid powertrain that first came to our market in the new Highlander.

    NX 450h+ is presumably a mechanical twin of the RAV4 Prime, with 302 system hp.

    The first-gen NX achieved big success because it’s the only vehicle in its class with a truly luxury-feeling interior and a comfortable, not stiff, ride. I really hope they don’t screw that part up.

  • avatar

    Hasn’t there been enough ugly Japanese garbage made the last five years. Honduh, Lexus, and Toyoduh have shoveled enough rolling cow manure onto American highways that we should ban that infection.

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