This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 17, 2004

Lexus to Launch Hybrid SUV in April 2005

Lexus announced on November 8th that its hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle (SUV), the RX 400h, won't go on sale until April 15th, 2005. The announcement follows a Lexus decision in August to push the sale date back from this fall to "early 2005." Lexus hopes to begin producing the vehicles early in 2005 in order to build up sufficient inventories to meet the demand when the hybrid vehicle goes on sale. Lexus has more than 9,500 confirmed pre-sold orders for the RX 400h. "We've received significantly more pre-launch consumer interest for the 400h than any vehicle in our entire 15-year history," said Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager, Denny Clements. See the Lexus press release or visit the RX 400h Web site.

Ford Motor Company also reports strong early interest in its hybrid SUV, selling 1,130 Escape Hybrids in October. Meanwhile, sales of the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid continue to top their own records. Toyota Motor Sales sold 6,123 Prius hybrids in October, a 9.6 percent improvement over the previous sales record, set in November 2003. Toyota's year-to-date sales of the Prius total 41,838 vehicles. American Honda lagged behind Toyota, selling 2,266 Civic Hybrids in October, while selling only 11 Insights. Honda's year-to-date sales of the Civic Hybrid total 21,506 vehicles, up 12 percent from last year. See the press releases from Ford, Toyota, and Honda.