Cars such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the Audi A3 Sedan are becoming more popular in the United States due to the fact that they are priced below $30,000 and offer plenty of standard features. Asked if Lexus would offer such a model, executive vice president of the company, Mark Templin, said that they really can’t offer a vehicle with the quality, durability and reliability seen on other Lexus models.
Still, he added that they can offer a car under $30,000 but it wouldn’t be a Lexus, it would be a Toyota. Mercedes-Benz introduced the CLA back in September 2013 and now, this model comprises 11 percent of the brand’s car sales.
Templin considers that what the German carmakers are doing is not luxury. Moreover, publications such as Consumer Reports and USA Today weren’t convinced either by the Mercedes-Benz CLA validating Templin’s point that this is not luxury.
Still, Consumer Reports wasn’t impressed by the 2014 Lexus IS either and this is one of the least expensive models found in Lexus lineup.
Back in June, Mercedes-Benz sales increased by 7 percent to 151,624 vehicles, BMW increased by 12 percent to 157,382 units while Audi sales climbed 14 percent to 84,349. Lexus sales jumped 17 percent to 138,689, continuing their rebound.
For those who don’t know, Lexus dominated the US luxury sales for more than 10 years but its sales dropped when Toyota was hit by the unintended acceleration recall crisis and then by the earthquake in Japan.
Lexus currently offers the CT200h for $32,975 but this is not quite a popular model as according to Templin, models that cost more than $50,000 generate most of the sales.
The exterior of the new Lexus CT 200h is given a more dynamic and sophisticated styling, as designed to attract younger customers.
Up front, the new Lexus CT 200h dons an evolved version of Lexus’ spindle grille, which has a center section that was pushed forward to create a more three-dimensional form, thereby allowing the bonnet, lower bumper and front fenders to have a more aerodynamic shape. The bottom corners of the new spindle grille are spaced 100 mm wider than on the outgoing model. The grille also features a lowered spindle 'pinch point' that helps reinforce the vehicle’s wide, sporting track and low front profile.
The grille’s spindle shape is highlighted by a dark finish, contrasting the upper chrome and lower metallic paint trim surrounds. This design layout further emphasizes the grille’s more sophisticated, three-dimensional structure. Just like on any Lexus, the grille on the CT 200h is positioned on a plane lower than the new projector LED headlamps, thereby giving the hybrid vehicle a more resolute appearance. These projector LED lamps come with smoked metallic finish.
Meanwhile, the dark finish of the spindle grille is matched by the fog lamp housings at the edges of the lower bumper, which feature integrated aerodynamic slits that help smooth airflow on the front of the new Lexus CT 200h.
When viewed from the sides, the new Lexus CT 200h bares a new shark fin-style roof antenna as well as newly developed 10-spoke alloy wheels in sizes 16 inches and 17 inches.
The rear end, on the other hand, sports a newly designed bumper with a more horizontal structure. Placed 20 mm lower at the extremities, the new bumper incorporates characteristic L-shaped reflector housings and a black lower center section, both helping underscore the CT 200h’s low center of gravity as well as broad rear stance.