Lexus is planning to unveil at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show a production-ready hybrid compact sports utility vehicle that will compete against the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1, a source within the carmaker told Automobilwoche. The hybrid compact SUV will be based on Toyota's RAV4 compact SUV and will be positioned below the current Lexus RX 450h.
Lexus aims for the hybrid compact SUV to become its first offering in the small SUV segment, the source disclosed. Lexus chief Kazuo Ohara remarked during the 2013 Detroit auto show that a concept version of the hybrid SUV would be unveiled at the Tokyo auto show in November.
Lexus’ hybrid compact SUV will likely be fitted with Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain currently used in the Lexus IS 300h. The hybrid powertrain features a four-cylinder 2.5-liter gasoline engine paired to an electric motor.
Carmakers are rushing to add small SUVs to their vehicle lineups due to the popularity of models like Audi Q3, Nissan Juke and Opel Mokka. According to data from analyst IHS Automotive, sales of small SUVs are expected to grow to over 500,000 by 2015 from 154,461 in 2012.