Lexus revamps ES 300h hybrid as sales slowly rebound
Lexus Korea announced a partially revamped ES 300h hybrid sedan on Monday as the Japanese carmaker looks to boost its stagnant sales in the local market.
The latest ES 300h sedan comes with upgraded safety features and performance.
"Lexus sold an accumulated 80,000 hybrid vehicles in Korea since 2006," said Lexus Korea CEO Nobuyuki Takemura during an online press conference held Monday.
"In 2021, 99 percent of Lexus Korea sales were hybrid models, which I believe is the evidence that Korean customers value highly of Lexus' hybrid vehicles."
The new ES 300h has an upgraded driving assistant system including a pre-collision system which can now detect a wider area in front of th car compared to earlier models. The introduction of what Lexus calls dynamic radar cruise control also allows the vehicle to slow down on its own on curved roads.
Inside, the 12.3-inch infotainment screen in the center is now touchscreen.
With upgraded suspension and dampers, the latest ES 300h offers a smoother ride, according to Lexus Korea.
Lexus, alongside other Japanese carmakers, has been struggling in Korea in recent years. One reason for the decline in sales is the negative sentiment toward Japanese products.
Lexus Korea sold 8,911 units last year, 27.2 percent fewer than the previous year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
Its sales rebounded slightly this year.
It sold 6,828 units this year as of August, recording a 35.2 percent year-on-year growth. Of that figure, the ES 300h sedan accounted for 65 percent.
On the back of the model's popularity, Lexus Korea on Monday also launched the model's high-performance version, the ES 300h F Sport. The new version has an adaptive suspension and sporty driving mode as well as its own F Sport emblem and mesh-patterned grille.
Fuel efficiency for the ES 300h stands at 17.2 kilometers per liter (km/l), and 16.8 km/l for the F Sport version.
The sticker price for the ES 300h starts from 61.9 million won ($52,000).
BY JIN EUN-SOO [email@example.com]