Nobody’s perfect: even Barry Bonds struck out now and then and he’s the all-time home run champ. So it is with Toyota. The maker of the world’s hottest hybrids announced it had ended production the Lexus HS250h due to poor sales.
According to a company statement, “Production of the HS 250h ceased in January, 2012. Lexus continues to monitor sales for each product and we make adjustments to make sure that we meet market demand, and the discontinuation of HS was part of that adjustment. The ES 300h is not replacing HS in our lineup. It’s merely part of the hybridization of many of our existing vehicles in the Toyota and Lexus lineups.”
The HS250h was Lexus’ first dedicated hybrid: it was not adapted from an existing gasoline-pwered car. The little Lexus hybrid was based on the same platform as the Toyota Avensis. The Avensis platform is also the base for the Scion tC.
When it made its U.S. and Japanese market debuts in 2009, it looked like the car had a bright future. It came from Toyota, the worldwide leader in hybrid vehicles, and was the upscale hybrid consumers told Toyota that they wanted. In Japan, there was a six-month-long waiting list so Toyota diverted some of the production originally destined for the U.S. to meet demand in the home market.
After the first surge it soon became obvious that was only a limited market for a high-dollar compact. From 6,699 sales in 2009, deliveries zoomed 59.2 percent to 10,663 in 2010 but then plummeted 73.1 percent to 2,864 in 2011. So far this year, 591 HS250hs have been sold, down 39.6 percent from the first four months of 2011.