Live Green, Die Young: Is the Lexus HS 250h Doomed?

I've never been a fan of alphabet soup-style names, and I don't think Lexus did its little hybrid any favors when the brass saddled it the name like HS 250h. Seriously guys, maybe one "H" would have been enough? But an awkward acronym is the least of this baby's worries now.

Of course, the name alone can't be faulted for its sagging sales. The HS 250h has basically been living in the shadow of its cheaper sibling, the CT200h, and 17,000 were recalled last June to fix a problem which could have lead to leaking fuel after a rear-end collision. Last month, only 200-odd buyers drove off the lot with a HS 250h, which is a 72 percent decline from October 2010.

So what's the issue? Well, ClubLexus' own 1SICKLEX has spent plenty of seat time in the HS, and pointed out some of its issues while members were talking about its sales performance last June. While he described it as a "nice car," he also listed these points:
  • Styling is very ho hum at best
  • Pricing is very high, it starts at nearly $35,000 and hits 40k then 45k with options! It is not cheap!
  • MPG is best for a luxury car but I think a 40 MPG rating would have gotten more attention.
  • Gas prices still are not at levels where people will jump to more fuel efficient cars
  • The interior is different and people might not want that in a Lexus
  • It drives remarkably well but Lexus marketing is not showing that, just talking about tech instead.
Since the HS has only been available since 2009, so if Lexus does wind up ditching it soon, that spells a pretty short lifespan for the brand's first dedicated hybrid. But with sales numbers in the gutter, it's probably better to retire it--at least in the US--and focus on the other cars in the lineup. After all, with hybrid versions of the CT, RX, GS and LX available, it's not like hybrid buyers looking for a Lexus don't have any options.

So what do you think? Will Lexus throw in the towel with the HS250h? And what would replace it? Sound off in the Forum! 

Adam Toy (Tue, 15 Nov 2011 10:50:38 -0800): LX Hybrid? Did I miss something? Thanks.
Ahmed Babiker M Ahmed (Tue, 15 Nov 2011 11:36:23 -0800): I believe he means LS.
Don DeGeorge (Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:53:33 -0800): If you think the HS250h is an expensive hybrid, look at the other Lexus hybrid sedans! I am happy with my HS250h, including the interior styling; but I have to admit that the exterior styling is pretty clunky.
Don DeGeorge (Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:55:55 -0800): Sorry, I did not intend to ignore the CT200h; what I was trying to say was that the HS250h is the best combination of price and luxury; the more upscale hybrids are out of my price range.
Bruce Stringer (Tue, 15 Nov 2011 13:10:29 -0800): I liked the Hs when I test drove it and took it as a loaner during servicing of my 2002 LS430. The seats and ride were much better than my 2008 Prius. I was waiting for Toyota to upgrade the hybrid system to plug-in and too replace the NiMh battery pack with a Lithium ion pack to provide greater electric drive versatility and range. When those enhancements were introduced I would consider replacing the LS430. Too bad. The other Lexus hybrids seem to focus mostly on enhanced performance rather than mileage and seem to ignore current and future realities.
Jim Brown (Thu, 17 Nov 2011 18:10:31 -0800): Thinking of getting one, have a prius now, and missing the bells and whistles of previous Lexus... Will have to see what happens then next couple of months with the HS.