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Future models - Lexus - CT - 200h

Refreshed Lexus CT200h ready for Guangzhou

Small wonder: The updated CT200h will officially debut at the Guangzhou motor show on November 21.

Lexus has released images of its updated CT200h hybrid hatch ahead of Chinese debut

Lexus logo14 Nov 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

LEXUS has released images of its refreshed CT200h hybrid hatch ahead of its official unveiling at the Guangzhou motor show in China next week.

The Japanese luxury brand’s entry model receives very subtle styling changes over the existing model, with the inclusion of a more defined version of the Lexus ‘spindle grille’ the most notable change.

Further styling changes include a redesigned headlight cluster with new L-shape daytime running lights and a new-look rear bumper that Lexus says gives the CT a more “horizontal structure”.

Newly designed alloy wheels top off the minor changes to the eco-friendly hatch, with Lexus remaining mum on any other updates to the car as well as launch timing until its official debut at Guangzhou on November 21.

The CT is the latest Lexus model to receive an upgrade, with all models from the GS mid-sizer, 3 Series-sized IS, LS limousine and RX SUV all having either a mid-life update or a complete new-generation overhaul in the last 12 to 18 months.

The CT200h arrived in Australia in early 2011 and quickly become one of the Toyota-owned luxury marque’s best-selling models.

In its first year on sale, Lexus sold 1311 CTs, beating the BMW 1 Series’ tally of 1201 for the year and coming close to sales of the Audi A3 that sold 1565.

Lexus shifted 1500 CTs locally in 2012, selling more units than the Mini hatch (1475) and the Audi A3 (1108) but falling behind BMW’s second-generation 1 Series (1920) that launched in October that year.

Things are looking less rosy for the CT this year though, with sales of 702 units to the end of October, a 43 per cent drop over the same period last year when Lexus had already shifted 1234 cars.

New premium hatch competitors including the hugely popular Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volvo’s V40 and the new Audi A3 have taken the steam out of the little Lexus this year.

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley told GoAuto last month that when the CT launched, it was priced competitively, but the arrival of the new guard of upmarket hatches has pushed the price of entry down to a point where the CT is now more expensive that its rivals.

The CT range starts at $39,990 for the CT200h Prestige and tops out at $57,990 for the Sports Luxury variant. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class kicks off from $35,600, the same price as the base Audi A3 TFSI Attraction, and the BMW 116i.

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