2011 Lexus RX 450hEnlarge Photo
Last September, Toyota said the company would launch six new hybrids by the end of 2012.
Now, a report from the German car magazine AutoBild suggests that one of those is a new Lexus: a baby brother for the brand's hugely successful RX 450h hybrid crossover utility vehicle.
The new compact crossover, which AutoBild dubs the CX 300h, would be based on the Toyota RAV4--meaning it too might be built in North America, as the RAV4 is.
2011 Toyota RAV4Enlarge Photo
On the RAV4 front, however, the company is expected to launch a fully electric conversion for sale next year. Engineered by Tesla and first unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the limited-production model is to be known as the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV.
The Lexus CX 300h, if it appears, would compete directly with the smallest crossovers from other luxury brands, including the BMW X1, the upcoming Audi Q3, the Infiniti EX, and the Cadillac SRX.
2012 Audi Q3Enlarge Photo
A smaller hybrid crossover would play to Lexus's strength, as the RX crossover line continues to be its mainstay in the United States, its strongest global market. As of May, the RX line represented 45 percent of all Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. this year.
Lexus clearly hopes to build on that success in a segment--compact luxury crossovers--in which it's been notably absent thus far.
To see AutoBild's rendering of what a Lexus CX 300h might look like, click on the link below.