Hybrid

Lexus for Luxury with a Social Conscience?

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

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In its latest promotions, Lexus is moving further into the market for hybrid vehicles by linking its reputation as a luxury car manufacturer with the eco-friendly merits of hybrids.  Lexus claims to be the first carmaker to focus on this relationship between luxury and environmentalism and in its ads (seen online on various websites), the company talks about how:

One should not have to choose between luxury and social conscience.

Lexus is positioning itself to the luxury car buyer who is not willing to sacrifice design and performance in order to be environmentally aware (sort of like die-hard coffee fans who are unwilling to sacrifice taste but want to buy fairly traded products). Lexus’ tag line argues that it gives more to the driver and takes less from the world. This may be true, but it’s a little hard to swallow when its most expensive hybrid only gets 20 miles per gallon in city driving. Nevertheless, the company is engaging with issues that many other luxury companies aren’t. Just this week Lexus launched an online forum to discuss the impact of hybrid cars on society.

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Jack Yan says of this article...

I have always been cynical about the Lexus hybrids, too, considering that the system appears in an SUV and its top-of-the-line sedan. Toyota, as a group, has even opposed some of the fuel-economy standards that California wants to impose. The Lexus hybrids are a “better than doing nothing” approach, but not one that definitively addresses the problems relating to greenhouse gases.
   The real clever approach would be to build a luxurious and smaller car with a distinctive, futuristic bodyshell, though efforts such as the Cadillac Cimarron (and I would even say the Lincoln MKZ) show that that is not always easy. However, mated to a hybrid system, this could be a useful way forward.

Jacqueline says of this article...

While Lexus might be the best option for those looking to “save the earth in style” (to quote 3Luxe’s very complimentary Lexus GS 450h listing), I tend to be a bit suspicious of a true eco-friendly luxury car.

That said, it is better than doing nothing – and I’d certainly like to have my suspicions proven wrong!

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One for the irony file: Lexus Low-Mileage Hybrid

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

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This week Toyota announced a new luxury performance sedan, the Lexus LS600h L. At $104,000, it’s the most expensive car ever offered by the company. Decked out in leather and high-tech amenities, the car goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds and has 438 horsepower. It’s also “green”—its hybrid gasoline-electric engine gets it better gas mileage than a gasoline engine alone.

But is it really the perfect car for the rich but environmentally-conscious consumer? I can’t say I think so.

I don’t want to go so far as to call putting a hybrid engine into the car a gimmick, as it’s surely a well-engineered, luxurious vehicle (and admittedly it does emit less pollution), but the car only gets 20 miles per gallon in city driving. That’s less than many non-hybrid sedans and only a third of the city mileage that Toyota’s first hybrid, the Prius, gets. The Prius is also a quarter of the LS600h’s cost.

You don’t exactly scream environmentally-friendly when you’re using more petrol than many non-hybrid cars. Are consumers wealthy enough to spend six figures on a car are concerned about this? For now it’s unclear, but car makers and other luxury businesses are increasingly offering green choices.

The fruits of green technology should themselves be green, but this Lexus isn’t (or at least isn’t as green as it could be). As consumers become more aware and discerning of green choices, they may want a car with four times the gas mileage of the Prius if they’re spending four times as much.

Janus Thinking says of this article...

Lexus for Luxury with a Social Conscience?

In its latest promotions, Lexus is moving further into the market for hybrid vehicles by linking its reputation as a luxury car manufacturer with the eco-friendly merits of hybrids.  Lexus claims to be the first carmaker to focus on…

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