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Lexus says luxury hybrids now a top seller

Toyota is the world's top producer and promoter of hybrid cars, and its enthusiasm extends to its Lexus luxury brand as well.

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    This is the Lexus logo on display at the Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh (Feb. 11, 2016).
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Toyota is the world's top producer and promoter of hybrid cars, and its enthusiasm extends to its Lexus luxury brand as well.

So while other luxury carmakers' interest in hybrids has waxed and waned, Lexus has remained committed.

As of the end of March, Lexus said it has now sold more than 1 million hybrids worldwide.

The millionth Lexus hybrid was an NX 300h crossover, which was delivered to owner Aldo Pirronello in Milan, Italy.

This milestone was reached almost exactly 11 years after the first Lexus hybrid was sold.

While the original Toyota Prius debuted in Japan in 1997, Lexus wouldn't get its first hybrid model until April 2005.

That was the RX 400h, a hybrid version of the RX crossover.

Today, Lexus sells 10 hybrid models worldwide, giving it more electrified models than any other luxury brand.

In the U.S., those include the ES 300h, GS 450h, and LS 600h L sedans, CT 200h hatchback, and NX 300h and RX 450h crossovers.

In other markets, Lexus also sells a second hybrid version of the GS sedan called the GS 300h, as well as hybrid variants of the IS sedan and RC coupe.

Lexus also continues to sell the HS 250h sedan in Japan. That model was pulled from the U.S. in 2012 after disappointing sales.

While U.S. consumers don't get every model, North America has accounted for the largest single share of Lexus hybrid sales over the past 11 years.

Of the 1 million Lexus hybrids sold since 2005, approximately 345,500 went to North America.

Lexus' next hybrid will probably do more for the brand's image than it will for those sales figures.

Unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the 2018 LC 500h is a lower-volume hybrid version of Lexus' new LC flagship coupe.

It's supposed to raise the profile of the brand, and also take Lexus hybrids in a sportier direction.

The somewhat unorthodox powertrain includes a 3.5-liter V-6, a version of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive System, and a four-speed automatic transmission—the latter intended to facilitate greater driver involvement.

Meanwhile, the next hybrid-sales goal for Toyota and Lexus is likely 10 million units worldwide for the two brands combined.

They passed 8 million combined sales in August 2015.

This article first appeared in GreenCarReports.

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