Toyota Lexus to launch next year in lndia with hybrid models

Toyota has been contemplating the launch of its premium Lexus brand for the Indian market for quite a while now. A new report has now emerged suggesting that the brand’s entry into the Indian market is almost a done deal and is likely to happen shortly.

Lexus is Toyota’s top-of-the-line brand, which has a slew of mid-sized luxury saloons and SUVs being manufactured, marketed and sold under its name across the globe. Initially introduced in the American market, the Lexus brand was primarily created to distinguish the company’s premium offerings from the usual Toyota brand.

According to a report via AutoCar India, Toyota will primarily focus on the hybrid models of the premium luxury brand as they have the advantage of FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles) scheme which results in low import duties, mainly to keep prices in check.

The government of India has been offering benefits to hybrid cars, as those above 4-meters in length are eligible for price exemptions of Rs. 1.35 lacs. Toyota will certainly take advantage of this new policy to make its Lexus brand competitively priced to rival the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

The company had earlier planned to bring the brand in India. However, high customs duties and other reasons brought the plan to a standstill. In fact, Toyota announced its plans in 2011 to bring the Lexus brand in India by 2013. Though thanks to the rigid Indian tax structure and the 2013-14 budget which substantially hiked import duties on fully imported cars, Toyota had to shelve its plans of bringing Lexus to India for later.

Things have now changed, and Lexus has a few hybrid cars in its portfolio. The Japanese automobile giant will likely bring those cars in India to benefit from the hybrid subsidy scheme. Nothing is sure, but initial offerings from the Lexus brand could be the RX 450h hybrid sedan.

The RX 450h has a 3.5-litre V6 engine mated to an electric motor that churns out 308bhp. We could see the GS 450h and the LS 600h following the launch of the RX 450h. The GS 450h gets the same 3.5-litre V6 engine though gets an increased output of 338bhp. Its top-of-the-line flagship sedan the LS 600h rocks a 5-lite V8 engine and churns out a combined output of 438 bhp.