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Lexus confirms CT200h for Oz

Lexus hatched: New CT200h hybrid could be the top-selling Lexus model in Australia.

First Lexus hatchback approved for Australia, but CT200h hybrid is still a year away

Lexus logo27 Apr 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

LEXUS has proclaimed its all-new CT200h will become Australia’s most advanced luxury hatchback when it goes on sale here in the first half of 2011.

Formally confirming the petrol-electric hybrid hatch's local release about a year ahead of sales after official approval of the vehicle’s Australian release by parent company Toyota Motor Corporation, new Lexus Australia chief Tony Cramb claimed the CT200h would redefine the luxury hatchback segment.

“When you take into account CT200h’s hybrid drivetrain and its list of advanced features, it’s clear to see why CT200h will become Australia's most advanced luxury hatchback,” said Mr Cramb.

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“CT200h will be Lexus’ most significant vehicle since the introduction of the IS line, bringing with it a whole new range of customers to the brand.

“The arrival of the CT200h in 2011 only reinforces Lexus’ commitment to hybrid vehicles and cements our real-world hybrid advantage in the luxury market.”

The CT200h, which emerged in final production guise at the Geneva motor show last month, will be the fourth hybrid available from Lexus in Australia, after the GS450h large sedan, LS600hL limousine and RX400h crossover wagon.

Billed as Australia’s only full hybrid luxury hatchback, it will also be the first dedicated hybrid sold here by Lexus, although North America’s Camry-based HS250h sedan was the first hybrid-only model from the brand globally.

“The traditional definition of luxury vehicles is changing,” said Mr Cramb. “Today consumers are looking for efficient vehicles that do not compromise on driving experience and features. Lexus’ range of hybrid vehicles and the CT200h are the vehicles for them.”

The CT200h – the first direct rival from Lexus for the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz B-class - is powered by a more powerful version of the Prius’ 1.8-litre petrol-electric drive system featuring Sport and electric-only drive modes, as well as a bespoke chassis set-up underneath its unique five-door body.

In Europe, the CT200h will come with high-tech safety equipment including a pre-crash preparation system, adaptive cruise control and eight airbags.

The timing of the dedicated petrol-electric small-car’s local release was revealed previously by former Lexus Australia chief executive John Roca, who has also already stated that, with a projected starting price of less than $50,000, the Toyota Prius-based hybrid hatch should become Australia’s top-selling Lexus model.

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