In response to poor sales, Lexus has discontinued its HS 250h hybrid luxury sedan. The vehicle actually went out of production in January 2012, but understandably, Lexus didn’t make a big fuss about canceling a three-year-old vehicle.
The Lexus HS 250h was introduced at the 2009 Detroit auto show. The luxury division’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle, the HS employs a 147-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four gasoline engine and a 141-hp electric motor-generator, with electricity stored in a Ni-MH battery pack. The EPA rated the HS 250h at 35/34 mpg (city/highway).
Lexus planned for the HS to sell between 25,000 and 30,000 units annually, but sales never even approached that level. In 2009, the Lexus HS recorded 6699 sales, peaked at 10,663 sales in 2010, and then fell to just 2864 sales in 2011. An emailed statement from the company says that, “We make adjustments to make sure that we meet market demand, and the discontinuation of HS was part of that adjustment.” In other words: horrible sales led to this car’s demise.
Lexus previously said that much of the reason was that the Toyota Prius had captured most of the hybrid-car limelight, leaving the Lexus HS without much attention from the general public. Another likely cause: price. The 2012 Lexus HS starts at $37,905 after destination, whereas the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid costs just $24,760. (It’s worth noting, of course, that the Lexus hybrid is more powerful and has more luxury touches than the Prius.)
With the HS gone from the lineup, Lexus still has four hybrid vehicles: the CT 200h hatchback, the RX 450h crossover, the GS 450h sports sedan, and the LS 600h L luxury sedan.