TOKYO -- Lexus wants to make hybrid technology its signature selling point. That means boosting hybrids' share of its North American sales above the current level of roughly 10 percent.
That compares with about 20 percent for Lexus globally -- and 80 percent in hybrid-crazy Japan.
Kazuo Ohara, deputy chief officer for the Lexus Group, didn't give a target percentage or time frame for boosting hybrid sales. But he says a flurry of new hybrid offerings will raise their share of Lexus sales in North America.
Ohara cited the recently introduced hybrid version of the ES sedan, which was not previously offered, and the new-generation LS flagship sedan. The latter gets a hybrid F Sport package for the first time, with tuning geared toward higher performance.
"We recently added the ES hybrid, so we think we can increase it from there," Ohara said of Lexus' 10 percent hybrid sales ratio. He spoke at the Japan launch of the new LS.
U.S. customers have been more interested in performance than mpg and haven't seen the added expense of the hybrid as worth it. Introducing hybrid drivetrains mated to F Sport packages is one way the brand is trying to spice up the technology. Lexus now offers F Sport hybrid options on the LS, GS, CT and RX.