This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Lexus Announces Luxury Hybrid MSRP, Hybrid Sales Increase
Toyota Motor Corporation announced the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) on April 6th for its 2008 Lexus LS 600h L luxury hybrid sedan, first covered last April in this newsletter. When Lexus dealers begin selling the amenity- and technology-packed car in June, it will carry a base MSRP of $104,000. The LS Hybrid is equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 gas engine with a high-output electronic motor and is expected to receive a Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle Rating and produce 70 percent fewer emissions than its cleanest competitors. In addition, the vehicle employs a full-time all-wheel drive system and a dual-stage electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. The combination results in power and performance on par with 12-cylinder engines. See the Lexus press release and the article from the April 19, 2006 edition of EERE Network News.
While the high price tag will likely prevent many consumers from purchasing the new Lexus hybrid, hybrid vehicles in general are making up a larger share of U.S. auto sales and incentives are enticing more mainstream consumers. In a March report titled, "The Steady—but Slow—Rise of Hybrids and Diesels in the U.S. Auto Market," J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Forecasting predicted that sales of diesel and hybrid engines will represent 9 percent of total auto sales in the U.S. by 2009. Toyota alone showed a record 12 percent increase in sales last month, largely due to demand for its hybrid vehicles. Toyota has increased production, lowered prices, and began offering financing and lease incentives this year on the popular hybrid Prius, taking at least this hybrid from the realm of exclusive and into the sights of mainstream buyers. Other hybrid carmakers, including Honda and GM, however, are expected to increase their sales of hybrid vehicles as well, taking back some of the market share that Toyota currently owns. See the Toyota press releases on March sales and new incentives.