China Has 168M Motor Vehicles on the Road
Global Financial Crisis Threatens Oil Sands Projects

Toyota May Make Lexus Line-up Hybrid Only

Nikkei. In the medium- to long-term, Toyota Motor is “considering making the Lexus line-up hybrid only,” according to Managing Officer Toshio Furutani.

More immediately, however, Toyota will introduce hybrid versions across the entire Lexus line-up as soon as possible, Furutani said at the preview for a new Tokyo-area showroom.

Global sales of the Lexus fell 9% on the year to 310,000 in the January-August period. “I hesitate to say that 2008 results will exceed 2007’s,” he said, indicating that full-year Lexus sales may drop.

With sales of luxury vehicles on the decline worldwide amid the US financial crisis, Toyota aims to accelerate its hybrid strategy for the Lexus.

Comments

Hope this isn't just a whimsical statement from Toyota. If they actually follow through and make every Lexus a hybrid it sets a precedent for other luxury and non luxury Makes. They could still pair the electric components with either gasoline or diesel.

Roger Pham

Ummm...great move, but please make 'em hybrid with 4-cylinder engine only...and smaller electrical drive train...Current Lexus hybrids ain't selling too hot, either, because they don't offer enough fuel efficiency gain over the non-hybrid version!

TM

I would venture to say that people who buy Lexus cars are probably not worried about saving fuel money. The Lexus line up makes sense in that these cars are not cheap to begin with (they do not compete with honda civics, toyota corollas, chevy malibu, etc) and a little more money for the hybrid technology will not be as noticable.

it will save a little gas, but be able to give the cars better acceleration for the given engine size.

I think this helps Toyota increase factory efficiency.

In either case, I welcome the news.

T2

I would hope that Toyota expands its hybrids into the Corolla/Yaris vehicle sizes first. Entry level Lexus are expensive enough without adding the hybrid premium.
Lexus will have to make a move when city congestion charges start hitting ES350 sales. Otherwise the fact that 70% of Lexus parts are borrowed from the Camry and parts for the Camry in turn are developed with the cash from the sale of 300k/yr of those vehicles is what helps give Lexus its value. BMW,Mercedes,Aston Martin and Jaguar don't have anywhere nere the base of vehicles that can support the cost of R&D that Toyota is able to expend on each one of the Camry's parts.
The HSD is a proven but complicated system that some want to see foisted on mainstream Lexus. Not for me. I like the multilink suspension that sets Lexus apart from Toyota but adding the HSD would scare me off.
T2

Yeah, what T2 said.

Take the MOST expensive compact (Corolla) on the market and add Hybrid components to price it right out of the reach of lower income families and have it compete against the Prius which would probably handily beat it in sales (hybrid vs hybrid sales that is, not overall if they were to keep non-hybrid versions).

MG

@T2:
Toyota HSD system (or 'CVT' as often called) is mechanically very simple and should be reliable.
All complexity is built in the control algorithm for inverters that drive those two motors.
In order to understand how HSD works, basic understanding of electric motors, generators and inverters is needed.
The 'Continuity' of 'CVT' is actually implemented in software.
If something is to fail, it would sooner be at the electrical side of 'transmission'.

TM

@T2 - the best way to save fuel is to enhance the cars that consume the most fuel - leave the yaris alone.

Similar to Amdahl's law in computing where you attempt to speed up the slowest component - not the fastest.

Lou Alcantar

Risky, but some great potencial. By making Lexus a strickly hybrid brand they raise their fleet wide mpg, lower their fleetwide polution, lower costs and become the green brand.

T2

OK, I don't want to split the topic. About the Yaris, suffice it to say that one of the best kept secrets is that Toyota fitting the 1NZ-FE engine with its105lbs-ft and a 5spd box together into the so called entry level segment subcompact could be so much fun to drive, particularly in the lighter (923kg) 2dr Echo package which is what I have.Yaris has been described as a "warm" hatch. Its performance sure is not entry level. Since driving stick has become rare, it is no stretch of the truth to say that it can out accelerate most vehicles on the road :=).
That said, however, a 5spd box is a yester-year solution compared to the electrical CVT as someone just posted. I envisage the Yaris with a severely downsized engine system.
Perhaps a one or two cylinder with an HSD could be contemplated to offset the hybrid premium. I am not talking of dropping the performance to that of a Citroen 2CV since fuel-injected liquid cooled VVt-i engines would still be under consideration here. But it would now have authentic entry level performance along with a reasonable 75mpg expectation.
Think it could happen ?

Lexus are of course are a different animal. There were no Prius demonstrators around at the time I was buying and the HSD was unproven. This might become another Previa, I thought. For me the Prius treads on the cachet of entry level Lexus and I think that recent sales figures are starting to show that. A Lexus version of the Toyota Camry Hybrid would also be tricky since in today's economic climate North American buyers might opt for the TCH being built here in Georgetown.
I think what helps make the Lexus Hybrids more expensive is the four wheel drive that needs a two speed rear axle to allow electrical assist above 100mph.

Looking at the development of transportation as an arrow through time I view the HSD merely as an interim stage. Now that Toyota has proved competency in power electronics I am waiting for Lexus to introduce the simplicity of a series hybrid configuration in a 4wd using a transverse electric motor on each axle and if that means a 100mph limit on a sport sedan, then that is just fine with me.

@MG you wrote basically that all the complexity resides in the servo algorithms. Yes but those concentric shafts spinning at 10,000rpm inside each other are not chopped liver either. I've seen the teardown photographs. Generally service policy is to replace the whole transaxle and so avoid the difficult diagnosis of what inside is 'slip slidin' away' so to speak. You have to pay for the lack of skill of the mechanic.

The Series hybrid on the other hand reduces the powertrain into two independent parts for servicing. At the garage a wall mounted controller would feed power to the axle motor/reducer combination for checks when spinning the wheels is necessary. While engine testing would involve feeding the generated electrical power to external water cooled load resistors. You would be able to see right away if a tuneup had indeed made any difference to performance. Conventional dynotesting would be obsolete here.
Work I have been doing privately shows that servo algorithms will still be complex even with the totally decoupled engine of the series hybrid. Fortunately that is something they don't have to care about at the service garage !
T2

Perry

T2
That was alot of words that said nothing

T2

-Perry
obviously I wrote something that upset you
please continue....
T2

Perry

T2
The only thing that upset me is that your post is 4 times longer than the whole article and as I said before it didn't really say anything.

The comments to this entry are closed.