The current 2017 model year will be the last for the Lexus CT200h.
An indirect successor to the Lexus HS250h sedan, the Lexus CT200h will end a seven-year model run in the United States that resulted in more than 90,000 sales.
Imported fromÂ Miyawaka, Japan, the Lexus CT has seen its average U.S. monthly output fall 58 percent over the last three years. Never a tremendously popular entry-level luxury car, the hybrid-only Lexus was forced to compete against very successful luxury sedans from Mercedes-Benz and Audi â€” CLA and A3, respectively â€” in the latter portion of its tenure.
The Lexus couldn’t compete.
It couldn’t compete with luxury rivals.
It couldn’t compete with high-efficiency hybrids.
It couldn’t compete as an older passenger car design in a market that’s increasingly fond of new crossover designs.
U.S. sales of the Lexus CT200h peaked at the end of its first year. In December 2011, 2,259 copies of the CT200h found U.S. owners. Only on four other occasions did the CT ever manage more than 2,000 monthly sales. Over the last 18 months, Lexus averaged fewer than 800 monthly CT200h sales.
With admittedly much broader lineups, including all-wheel-drive variants, Audi averages nearly 2,500 A3 sales per month in the United States while Mercedes-Benz’s CLA-Class now averages just under 2,000 sales per month. The CT200h is priced from $32,245. The A3’s base MSRP is slightly lower; the CLA’s slightly higher.
Advances in Toyota’s own hybrids also mean the CT200h doesn’t appearÂ as efficient now as it did when it debuted inÂ 2011. Upon its introduction, the CT200h’s 43/40 mpg city/highway ratings compared somewhatÂ favorably with the Toyota Prius’s 49/46 EPA figures.
But the CT200h is still a 43/40 car in anÂ era of 58/53-mpg Prii. While not a direct Prius rival, the Prius’s advances mean the Lexus no longer has the numbers to stand out, particularly since consumers generally consider fuel to be sufficiently inexpensive.
Furthermore, tastes have changed. The CT200h is by no means the only Lexus struggling. Through the first one-third of 2017, passenger car sales at Lexus (excluding the now discontinued CT200h) are down 33 percent, a loss of nearly 13,000 sales, year-over-year, over the span of just four months.
66 percentÂ of Lexus’ U.S. volume is now generated by SUVs/crossovers. Cars produced slightly more than half of all Lexus sales the yearÂ the CT200h debuted.Â As a result, the Lexus CT200h will, in a sense, eventually be replaced by a utility vehicle below the NX, Car And Driver reports.
Thus, a hybrid hatchback dies.
Timothy Cain is the founder ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.netÂ and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.