Lexus launches new mid-size RX hybrid

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Lexus launches new mid-size RX hybrid

Lexus Korea rolled out a new midsize SUV, the RX Hybrid, on Wednesday after the company hit its all-time best sales record last year.

The company expects the new Lexus SUV to lead its sales this year. Last year’s sales were led by sedans such as the ES300h, but the popularity of SUVs is consistently growing. The company started receiving preorders for the fourth generation of the RX, and the first delivery will be made in March.

The Lexus RX comes in two models, the RX450h and RX350, but the key model is the hybrid RX450h, with a sticker price between 76.1 million won ($62,000) and 86 million won.

The length, width, height and wheelbase of the RX has been increased 120 millimeters (4.7 inches), 10 millimeters, 20 millimeters and 50 millimeters, respectively, from the predecessor. This provides a wide rear seat similar to the company’s flagship sedan, the LS.

The RX’s hybrid power train, with a V6 DOHC Dual VVT-iW engine, offers 12.8 kilometers per liter of fuel efficiency. It also puts out 301 horsepower and 37.7 kilogram-meters (272.7 pound-feet) of torque.

The Japanese automaker appears to be focusing on the environmentally-friendly car market in Korea. Last year, the company saw its sales in the local environmentally-friendly car market increase by 23 percent from 2014 to 7,956 units, thanks to the ES300h sedan and NX300h SUV, both hybrid vehicles.

According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, the number of green car sales has increased by 29.4 percent last year from a year ago to 10,253 units. It is the first time eco-cars have sold over 10,000 units in Korea, even though their market share was only 4.2 percent. In that segment, Toyota and Lexus were the leaders; the two sold 8,805 hybrid cars, thanks to the Lexus ES300h (5,006) and Toyota Prius (1,787). The company said 82 percent of its sales were made with its six hybrid models.

“We know there are concerns about international oil prices that have been consistently falling,” said Lexus Korea CEO Akihisa Yoshida. “It might be influenced in the short term, but we are preparing these lineups with a long-term perspective, probably 10 or 20 years. We will keep expanding the lineup as we planned.”


BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]


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