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Lexus HS 250h  (Source: Toyota)
Buyers are swiftly lining up for the Lexus HS 250h

Eager to cash in on an uptick in hybrid sales, Toyota has already boosted the production of its third-generation Prius, which topped sales charts in Japan and is all but sold out in many parts of the U.S.  What Toyota didn't plan on was the very enthusiastic reception its new Lexus HS 250h luxury hybrid has also received in Japan.

Toyota was targeting a mere 500 sales a month, but in less than a month since the July 14 launch in Japan, over 9,000 orders had been placed. 

The appeal makes sense -- the Lexus HS 250h features a somewhat more conventional layout than most other hybrids such as the Honda Insight or Toyota Prius.  At $34,200 base MSRP it's expensive, but not wallet breaking for many professionals.  And thanks to Japan's hybrid subsidy (similar to cash-for-clunkers), which expires March 31, 2010, the car's price is even more reachable.  The car gets a modest 35 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway -- making it the most fuel efficient Lexus currently on sale.  It also features ultra-low emissions, receiving the distinction of being classed as a Super-Ultra-Low-Emission-Vehicle (SULEV) in Japan. 

The HS 250h comes standard with a leather interior, Bluetooth, moonroof, active front head restraints, vehicle stability control, and ten airbags.  There are plenty of tempting optional perks too, including LED headlights, Lexus' Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Hard Disk Drive Navigation System, and an LED-based Heads-up Display (HUD).

In response to the high demand, Toyota is boosting production of the vehicle.  Currently it has only produced around 2,000 vehicles, leaving about 7,000 orders unfilled.  It plans to triple production by October in an effort to keep up with demand.

Toyota is undoubtedly eagerly awaiting the August or September targeted U.S. release of the vehicle.  The Lexus brand remains one of the most well-respected brands among luxury car buying circles in the U.S.  And with its eco-friendly image, reasonable price point, and abundance of advanced features, the Lexus HS 250h just might surpass some sales predictions in the U.S., as well.



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