The Lexus HS 250h was launched at the 2009 Detroit auto show. The luxury division’s first devoted hybrid vehicle, the HS employs a 147-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four petrol engine and a 141-hp electric motor-generator, with electricity stored in a Ni-MH battery pack. The EPA calculated the HS 250h at 35/34 mpg (city/highway).
Lexus intended for the HS to sell between 25,000 and 30,000 units annually, but sales never even approached that level. In 2009, the Lexus HS recorded 6699 sales, pointed at 10,663 sales in 2010, and then fell to just 2864 sales in 2011. An emailed declaration from the company says that, “We make adjustments to make sure that we meet marketplace demand, and the discontinuation of HS was part of that change.” In other words: horrifying sales led to this car’s demise.
Lexus previously said that much of the reason was that the Toyota Prius had captured most of the hybrid-car attention, leaving the Lexus HS without much notice from the general public. One more likely cause: price. The 2012 Lexus HS starts at $37,905 after purpose, whereas the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid costs just $24,760. (It’s worth noting, of course, that the Lexus cross is more influential and has more luxury touches than the Prius.)
With the HS gone from the lineup, Lexus still has four cross vehicles: the CT 200h rear door, the RX 450h crossover, the GS 450h sports sedan, and the LS 600h L lavishness sedan.