The Lexus brand of luxury vehicles is owned by Toyota Motor Company, which is one of the largest companies in Japan and one of the most popular auto manufacturers in the world. The Lexus brand was developed by Toyota to increase the company’s presence in the luxury and premium vehicle segments, and Lexus was actually designed specifically to appeal to United States consumers. After the Lexus brand’s launch in 1989, the brand was gradually expanded until Lexus vehicles were exported around the world. Some of the brand’s most popular vehicles are Lexus hybrid models, which tap parent company Toyota’s expertise in developing and implementing gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle technology. Luxury and premium Lexus hybrid cars have grown to be an important part of the brand’s strategy, not just in the United States and North America, but around the world. However, availability of Lexus hybrid cars varies in different global markets. Lexus hybrid cars are designed, engineered and developed at Lexus’ headquarters in Nagoya, Japan, and the company also has offices in Torrance, California, and Brussels, Belgium. Lexus vehicles are built primarily at Lexus and Toyota facilities throughout Japan.
The first Lexus vehicle to be launched was a gasoline powered sedan, but it wasn’t long before Lexus began adding hybrid models to the lineup. Toyota’s hybrid vehicles were already very popular when the first Lexus hybrid cars were released. The first Lexus hybrid, which was introduced in 2005, was a variation of the Lexus RX, a compact crossover vehicle. Lexus hybrid vehicles are available as crossovers, sport utility vehicles, sedans, and coupes. Some Lexus hybrid vehicle models are even available in all-wheel-drive configuration. Hybrid drivetrains, based on Toyota’s established and successful hybrid technology known as Hybrid Synergy Drive, have gradually been added as options to increase the availability of Lexus hybrid cars. (The system, when used on Lexus hybrids, is called Lexus Hybrid Drive.) Though most Lexus hybrid cars are simply established models that have been updated with hybrid drivetrains, Lexus has developed other models as dedicated hybrids, planning from the vehicles’ early stages of design to showcase hybrid technology and capabilities. The Hybrid Synergy Drive system is a full hybrid system, which means Lexus hybrid cars are capable of driving on the electric motor only, at moderate speeds and for short distances, before it becomes necessary to rely on the gasoline engine. This system allows Lexus hybrids to achieve more competitive fuel economy than mild hybrid vehicles, which cannot run on electric power alone.