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Official: Lexus CT 200h hatchback bound for U.S.

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Official: Lexus CT 200h hatchback bound for U.S.

03/05/2010, 3:43 PMBY MARK KLEIS

Extending its global hybrid reach, Lexus has confirmed the CT 200h premium hybrid hatchback will be headed for a U.S. showroom near you. The CT 200h will stand as Lexus’ entry-level model in Europe and will do battle with the likes of the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3 – and according to a breaking report, will also be coming to the U.S. for a simultaneous global launch.

The CT 200h was first expected to eventually reach North America – possibly as early as the 2012 model year. Lexus had applied for trademarks on the CT 200h, CT 300h and CT 400h nameplates in the United States and Canada – leading us to believe the car would be coming to the U.S. market.

Then Lexus indicated that the car would not be bound for U.S. consumption in early February, saying, “There are no plans, at present, to bring this vehicle to the U.S.”

“When the all-new Lexus CT 200h enters the market it will be the only hybrid vehicle in the emerging premium compact segment,” said Mark Templin, Lexus division group vice president and general manager.

Lexus’ new sporty and versatile five-door, which had its global premiere at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, will be Lexus’ second dedicated hybrid and fifth hybrid vehicle in the line-up in the U.S.

Based on an all-new front-wheel drive platform, the CT 200h will slot in as Lexus’ entry-level model in Europe, where the HS 250h is not currently sold. The production vehicle will be a five-door hatchback designed to go up against cars like the Audi A3 TDI and BMW 1-Series.

The CT 200h is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) mated to Toyota’s Lexus Hybrid Drive system. The gas-electric drivetrain features four different settings, including ECO, NORMAL and SPORT. The fourth EV setting is a unique feature, allowing the CT 200h to travel up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 28 mph on all-electric power.



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