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Toyot's first dedicated hybrid model - the Prius - has proven to be a smash sales success, but the automaker's latest dedicated hybrid offering is struggling to find buyers. Lexus' hybrid-only HS 250h launched in the U.S. market last August, but has yet to live up to sales expectations.

Lexus originally planned to sell between 20,000 and 22,000 units of the HS 250h in the United States annually, but is currently only on pace to shift about 14,000 units. Lexus has tallied 4,529 HS 250h sales through April, including just 1,076 deliveries last month.

"I think we underestimated the power of the Prius brand," Mark Templin, Lexus Div. group vice president, told Ward's. "And we overestimated what the market would look like based on gas prices."

As a result of soft U.S. demand, Lexus has revised its global HS 250h sales expectations, dropping the forecast from 25,000-30,000 units to no more than 22,000 units. Templin says demand for the HS 250h remains strong in Japan.

Despite its poor performance in the U.S. market, the HS 250h is still easily Lexus' second most popular hybrid model, handily beating the GS 450h's 119 four-month sales tally and the LS 600h's 40 unit sales mark.

References

1. 'Lexus HS...' view