Despite sales of the Lexus CT hybrid hatchback ending last year in the U.S., Lexus isn't planning to abandon the hatchback segment in favor of the new compact crossover, the UX. The CT remains on sale in some countries, and Lexus's European boss is adamant the brand has to keep offering hatchbacks.
Talking to the British AutoExpress, Lexus's Pascal Ruch says the CT has an important purpose, which is introducing new customers to the Lexus brand. Ruch told AutoExpress that the CT has a high "conquest ratio" of 70-75 percent, and that a CT customer is different from the envisioned UX customer. "I believe that all the segments we are now in, it's important to stay there," added Ruch.
AutoExpress says the CT could be replaced in 2020 with a model that would be offered both as a hybrid and as all-electric, built on Toyota's new TNGA global platform. The hybrid is likely to be the 177-horsepower 2.0-liter unit seen in the new European Auris, which corresponds to the new U.S. market Corolla Hatchback. The CT's successor could be sold as both a conventional hatchback and a more crossover-like version, much like the new Ford Focus and its Active trim level; Ruch says Lexus is thinking through a new approach for the CT.
The CT was introduced way back in 2011, selling some 15,000-17,000 examples per year in the U.S. until its first really weak year, 2016, which saw less than 9,000 cars sold. The following year, which proved to be its last model year in the United States, sales dropped under 4,700. In Europe, it's different for Lexus: The brand overall sells only some 45,000 cars per year, and the CT's steady sales of more than 8,000 cars per year are quite important for it.