Lexus has been one of the pioneers of hybrid technology and has stated early on that it wants to see the efficient drivetrain feature across its model lineup. Europe’s carmakers are fearful of strict carbon-dioxide emissions standards being introduced, and now Lexus is poised to take a swipe at the German luxury marques using its hybrid advantage.

Since its launch 18 years ago, Lexus has risen to become a major player in the US luxury car market and now it’s ready to attempt the same feat in Europe. Toyota’s VP in Europe, Thierry Dombreval, acknowledges that the hybrid theme is now a characteristic of the marque and allows Lexus to target a segment in Europe that the Germans cannot satisfy with their current offerings.

Lexus sales in Europe have increased substantially with the introduction of the GS450h sedan and RX400h SUV. Last year, it managed to sell 36,600 cars across Europe, which was a jump of 72% over the previous year, and one in four of the cars sold was a hybrid. Diesel is another route that Lexus plans to follow, but the main goal of the Japanese label is to gain market share from its German competitors by competing in the hybrid niche.