“It’s better to burn out, than to fade away,” once penned songwriter Neil Young, addressing the hazards of a life lived in the spotlight.

If you were a fan of the Lexus HS 250h hybrid, you’ll be saddened to learn that fading away is exactly the fate of Lexus’ compact hybrid sedan.

Lexus has dropped the car from production, without making any kind of official announcement of the hybrid’s demise. Remaining stock will be sold from dealer and port inventory.

When confronted by Inside Line over the car’s in-limbo status, Toyota’s official word was, “Production of the HS 250h ceased in January, 2012.”

One need only look at sales numbers to understand why the decision was made. In 2010, Lexus sold 10,663 HS 250h models, but last year moved only 2,864.

The year-to-date numbers for 2012 look even worse, with sales of just 591 units through April. On the other hand, sales of the  Lexus CT 200h hybrid in 2012 are over double what they were last year, making the CT 200h the fourth-best selling model in Lexus’ mix.

Lexus insists the upcoming, larger ES 300h hybrid sedan is not meant as a replacement for the HS 250h, but there’s no denying it gives the automaker a broader range of hybrid options.

The CT 200h is a compact hatchback, meant to appeal to young buyers and serve as a gateway to the brand. The ES 300h will be a mid-size sedan, targeted to a more mature and affluent demographic.

Perhaps the best news is this: the ES 300h is expected to produce more horsepower while returning better fuel economy, both steps in the right direction.


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