Toyota has confirmed that its Lexus sub-brand has stopped offering and producing the unique HS 250h hybrid sedan due to low sales.
The carmaker confirmed this move, which happened earlier this year, to Inside Line. At the same time, Toyota is adamant that the upcoming ES 300h hybrid sedan due in August isn't a direct replacement for the HS.
Sales of the HS, which isn't based on any other vehicle sold in North America, fell by a whopping 73 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, down to 2,864 from 10,663. In part, the diminished demand is easily attributable to the similarly-priced and much more fuel efficient CT 200h that Lexus introduced last year. Through the first four months of 2012, Lexus has delivered 6,510 CTs compared to a mere 591 HSs.
Production of the HS hybrid stopped in January, Toyota wrote back to the source, stating only that the model was cut due to a market adjustment.
The 2013 ES hybrid is likely to cost significantly more than the $37,905 starting price of the 2012 HS, though it hasn't yet been finalized. As it's based on the garden-variety ES, however, there is the likelihood that the cheaper production costs will be carried over to the consumer.
The ES 300h will have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine but is expected to get better EPA fuel economy than the 2.4-liter HS 250h.