2009 Lexus LF-Ch concept at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show
2011 Lexus CT 200h teaser
Just last Friday Lexus began to tease us with their upcoming entry-level hybrid compact, the CT 200h, due to debut at March's Geneva Motor Show, but already reports that the car won't be coming to the U.S. are emerging. The car is expected to be a production version of the LF-Ch concept revealed at last year's Frankfurt Auto Show.
The reasoning behind the lack of plans for U.S. sale weren't spelled out, but it's a pretty simple equation: finding a spot below the HS 250h in the U.S. lineup that doesn't get significantly into regular Toyota price territory is pretty much impossible. As it sits now, the HS 250h steps on the toes of the upper end of the Prius spectrum, even though most have found the HS to fall somewhat short of Lexus' luxury standards.
Designed as a competitor to the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3, the CT 200h is due for European sale sometime later this year as an entry-level model to bring younger buyers into the Lexus fold. That approach may work well in Europe, where cars in general are priced higher, and buyers don't tend to conflate "small" with "cheap" as much as they do in the U.S.
Beyond its entry positioning and expected 2.0-liter powertrain equivalency, we know little about the CT 200h, with Lexus hanging on to most of the details for the Geneva debut. We'll keep you posted on the car itself as well as its status for U.S. sale.