High sales hopes aren't exactly in fashion right now, especially in the car industry, and Lexus is following suit, eying a fairly humble first-year target of 25,000 units for its new HS 250h dedicated hybrid sedan.

Total sales for the Lexus brand in 2008 rode above 20,000 per month, and even with losses of 30% or more in 2009, total volume is still hovering around 13,000-15,000 per month - so the 2,000 or so monthly sales that will be added to that tally by the new 2010 Lexus HS 250h won't make a huge impact on the bottom line.

Still, the company sees the dedicated luxury hybrid sedan as a growth sector, and as usual, is one of the first to the segment with a full-featured, competitive vehicle. "More than 60 percent of entry luxury sedan buyers said they would consider hybrids, and this is a segment nobody's in right now," said Lexus U.S. division chief Mark Templin at a Detroit-area event, reports Reuters.

On the other hand, there's a lot militating against big sales of dedicated hybrid luxury cars, not the least of which is the tough economy. Finding a way to justify a car that's premised around premium quality and low fuel consumption at a time when cash is tight and fuel is cheap isn't an easy thing to do, and perhaps that's why Lexus is being cautious in its first year out with the new car.

For more information about the car and its features, check out our first drive of the 2010 Lexus HS 250h.