Lexus needs a small electric crossover if it's ever going to capture the EV market.
Lexus is reportedly considering reviving the defunct CT model name from the dead as early as 2024 as a new compact crossover similar to the Lexus UX.
If you don't remember the Lexus CT, you're not alone. While handsome, the mediocre hybrid drivetrain and uninspiring driving experience made it a less-than-popular choice of a premium hatchback, and after an 11-year run, Lexus managed to sell just 380,000 examples before it was culled earlier this year.
According to Best Car Web, the new model will eschew the hatchback design and evolve into a compact crossover SUV with a variety of new powertrains. Unlike the original CT - sold only with a 1.8-liter hybrid engine - the replacement will be offered with a 2.0-liter hybrid, 2.5-liter gas engine, and an all-electric powertrain.
The CT200h may have left the US market in 2017, but the vehicle remained in several key markets until early this year.
This rumor echoes the sentiments shared by Lexus Europe's Pascal Ruch. In 2018, the company official said Lexus would not exit the hatchback segment, and noted that the CT is important to the brand. "It's useful [for] bringing new people to the brand. People buy the CT for efficiency; with the UX, we're looking for a different customer."
At the time, hybrid and fully electric models - based on the new TNGA architecture - were rumored to replace the CT hatchback.
It seems the CT will be a more upmarket alternative to the UX. The newcomer will reportedly cost around 4.3 million yen ($29,320). In Japan, the entry-level UX is slightly cheaper, at just over four million yen ($27,200).
The report suggests the newcomer will measure 59.8 inches in height, placing it very close to the 60.6-inch-tall UX.
The advent of a fully-electric CT in the United States may do wonders for the brand. America will soon receive the Lexus RZ - the brand's first fully-electric offering in the USA - and, while it will certainly prove popular with well-to-do clients, the estimated $50,000 price tag will make it out of reach for many.
A smaller, well-priced CT could be just what Lexus needs to enter the semi-affordable EV segment and help boost its middling sales figures.
Interestingly, the brand does sell a relatively affordable electric vehicle in other markets. The UX 300e boasts 280 miles of claimed range and a starting price of £44,195 ($50,700) in the UK, but will not be coming stateside.