Toyota Motor Corporation‘s new CEO Akio Toyoda is a young man with plenty of petrol in his veins. One only has to take one look at the official press pictures of him to see this. These have generally centred around a blue racing overall and a fire-breathing Lexus IS-F.
But his company is an evolving one, a company known just as much for its reliable automobiles as it is for hybrid technology. Over recent years Toyota's Lexus division has become a top-three selling premium brand in the US and is growing in a number of other markets as well. But that growth has been somewhat limited partly because Lexus does not play in the fastest growing segment of the premium market. That segment is overrun by cars like the Audi A3 and the BMW 1 Series.
A recent report published in WCF told of how Lexus will soon be offering a competitor for these Germans. What is now more apparent is that the range will be designated as CT in addition to existing IS, GS, RX and LS models. It will also be hybrid-only. Last month the company filed US patents for the words CT 200h, CT 300h and CT 400h. While the Europeans continue reaping diesel rewards, Lexus sees a better opportunity in the hybrid scenario. What these model designations mean is that the CT 200h for instance, will have 2.0-litre performance and good fuel consumption from a smaller engine. Likewise the 400h offers 4.0-litre V8 performance from a smaller engine, likely to be the 3.5-litre found in a number of other Toyota cars. The latter might be compared to current foes like the Audi S3 and the BMW 135i.
A concept version of the Lexus CT will, so goes the rumour, appear at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, then move to Tokyo in October, possibly to LA in December, Detroit in January 2010 and then Geneva by which time it will be the production version on show.