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Lexus RX SUV gets plug-in hybrid version

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BRUSSELS – Lexus has added a plug-in hybrid option to the new generation of its best-selling model, the RX large premium SUV, with CO2 emissions of less than 30 grams per km and 65 km (40 miles) of electric-only range.

The RX was first launched in 1998, and since then Lexus, Toyota Motor’s premium brand, has sold 3.5 million units, with about 300,000 in its Europe region, which includes Turkey, Russia and several other non-EU countries.

The new RX will have three electrified variants in Europe — two full hybrids and the new plug-in. But in keeping with recent Lexus strategy, there will be no diesel variant. It is due to arrive in dealerships in Europe in December.

“With the various options that we are offering on the new RX, we are giving customers the chance to join electrification on their terms,” said Spiros Fortinos, head of Lexus Europe, at a press event here in Brussels.

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Lexus expects to sell about 12,300 RXs next year in its Europe region, a figure that does not compare directly with the more than 18,000 units sold in 2021.

Last year, Russia and Ukraine accounted for more than 8,000 units of the RX, but sales in these two markets were paused in March and are currently not included in future planning.

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Sales of the RX were flat last year in Europe (EU plus the UK and the European Free Trade Association countries) at 5,679 units, according to Dataforce figures. The RX ranked 13th in the  large premium SUV segment, which grew 3.2 percent to 255,385 units. It was led by the Mercedes GLE at 50,192, ahead of the BMW X5 (46,079) and the Volvo XC90 (29,551).

For customers looking beyond hybrids to full-electric cars, Lexus will introduce the battery-only RZ crossover in January 2023. Lexus expects to sell about 6,000 RZs in 2023, mainly in Western Europe

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