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Paris show: Lexus CT sedan is go

Get booted: With a sedan version of the CT on the way, Lexus will soon be able to compete against rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3 sedan.

Booted version of next-gen Lexus CT likely to debut at next year’s Geneva show

Lexus logo6 Oct 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

LEXUS looks set to expand its small car line-up with a sedan version of the next-generation CT hatch all but confirmed, and a sneak peek expected at next year’s Geneva motor show.

Speaking with Australian media at the Paris motor show, Lexus International president Tokuo Fukuichi initially said that the Toyota-owned brand did not discuss its future product plans.

“We consider possibilities in the market, many things,” he said. “We are going to have a chance to develop, we can try. I can’t say completely about new product.”

However, when pressed on whether Lexus was considering a booted CT model, Mr Fukuichi gave a big hint that a small sedan was on the way.

“Yes considering. Please wait until next year. I want to invite you to next year’s Geneva motor show.”

Mr Fukuichi said he could not say whether it would be based on the CT platform, which itself shares a platform with the previous-generation Toyota Corolla, but he added that such a vehicle could expand beyond being a hybrid-only option like the CT hatch, possibly into turbo territory.

“We have to think about many possibilities… In the future we have to think about the environment situation, so we try to think about many possibility.

Hybrid, turbo engines.” Lexus recently confirmed that its first ever turbocharged engine – a 2.0-litre petrol unit capable of producing 175kW/350Nm – would see life in a number of models, kicking off with the NX SUV and eventually the RC coupe and IS mid-sizer.

If a small Lexus sedan comes to fruition, it will give Lexus some much needed ammunition against the growing list of premium compact sedans that includes the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA.

BMW is also set to join the party, probably in 2016, with a sedan version of its next-generation 1 Series hatch that will be built using the company’s front-wheel drive UKL architecture, which underpins the Mini hatch.

The CT200h has struggled in Australia against fierce competition in the form of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series that all offer numerous powertrains.

Lexus has managed 525 sales to the end of August this year for the CT, trailing the A-Class on 3213, A3 on 2796 and 1 Series on 1620.

Meanwhile, discussing a possible sub-NX crossover for the Japanese luxury brand to compete against the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1, Mr Fukuichi said it would depend on whether Toyota had the appropriate platform to share.

“We have many kinds of product with the Toyota brand we have to share, but we can think about smaller product also,” he said. “Actually we cannot say about planning. We have to make a strategy to share with Toyota brand. Which brand is better for the smaller one.”

Toyota revealed its C-HR compact crossover concept (see separate story) at Paris, that is likely to spawn a production model to rival the Nissan Juke and Holden Trax, giving the possibility of a Lexus-badged sub-compact SUV a significant boost.

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