Is this a wise decision?
Lexus has found great success in the US, but less so in overseas markets, such as Europe. It's not easy fighting on the home turf of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. But still, Lexus refuses to give up and the arrival of the UX 300e all-electric crossover will hopefully help boost sales. The Lexus UX first went on sale in the US as a 2019 model and managed to sell some 16,725 units in its first full model year. Not bad.
But what about the UX 300e, first introduced last November? Will it be sold in the US as well? The answer is 'no.' Automotive News Europe spoke to Koji Sato, recently appointed president of Lexus International, about a number of topics, among them why the all-electric UX won't come to America. His answer actually makes complete sense.
"There is no plan to introduce an EV variant because there is no demand [in America] and the regulation situation is different," he said. "Our fundamental strategy for electrified technology is 'Right place, right timing, right price.'"
Sato also confirmed the UX 300e will be sold in China, Japan, and a few other Asian countries, but its main focus will be Europe and China. Both markets currently have the highest emissions regulations. In its current form, the UX 300e produces only 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. For Americans, that likely wouldn't be enough oomph. Bear in mind the Hyundai Kona EV also has 201 hp but torque increases to 291 lb-ft. The UX 300e's 54.3-kWh battery may simply not be powerful enough for what Americans have come to expect from EVs.
Fortunately, Americans who still demand a more fuel-efficient luxury subcompact crossover can look no further than the Lexus UX 250h.
This hybrid variant offers an EPA-estimated 39 mpg combined, compared to the non-hybrid's 33 mpg. Just because the UX 300e isn't deemed necessary for America doesn't mean Lexus won't get into the EV market at all in our neck of the woods. In fact, Sato also confirmed Lexus is still investigating hydrogen fuel cell technology.