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Lexus RX 400h and 450h

Since luxury cars and SUVs have bigger profit margins, why don’t the automakers get started with these segments? They can charge a premium on top of the premiums they are already charging for a hybrid system. Even an increase of 20% in fuel economy would make a huge difference, and in cars which only are getting city/hwy average of 18MPG this would mean making the milage around 22mpg, only an increase of 4 MPG. This can easily be done in suvs/luxury cars, while improving performance for an added cost of $4000, probably much less done on a large scale. Better performance, better fuel economy, and better image, people are willing to pay a premium for, especially those who purchase premium products.

A 10 % overall increase in fuel economy would make a dramatic difference in our dependence of foreign oil, I believe it would also make a big difference in air quality and in the environment overall.

Why are automakers focusing on squeezing expensive systems into economy cars when the profit margins on economy cars is already low, and the people who purchase economy cars are on a tight budget? Why? Because they can, because people still buy underperforming, overpolluting cars, and they must leave room for improvement in the future, without new products and constant slight innovation, people won’t buy new cars. When people stop buying new cars they will realize that people are waiting for something new, and they will slowly leak new products. That IS what is happening NOW. Although "they" are ignoring the pleas for some reason. The population has heard that these new cars are on the horizon, so people are waiting, if not consciously, then unconsciously waiting, just a little bit longer to make a new car purchase to see what is around the corner. People aren’t stupid and that’s what is going on, that is why sales are down and the automakers have to give crazy incentives (GM averaging $4000+ per car.) HMMMM why not make hybrid systems and sell cars without the incentives, because people will buy them if they are a better product.

The automakers say higher fuel regulations will make cars too expensive, that is because they are being paid off by oil companies.

OK well that’s way more than enough. What do you think?


  • The Lexus RX330 SUV will have an AWD hybrid version
    (with the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive) coming out
    next year (2004). Toyota is supposed to come out
    with the Highlander cousin shortly afterwards.

    Ford has been pushing back the release date on the
    hybrid Ford Escape SUV, but they're claiming summer
    of 2004 also.

    Hey, the automakers have to start somewhere...
  • I think I spelled that word wrong but u know what I mean. U must admit (if u've been paying attention to this technology) that some invisible force has been slowing the release of the technology. ..from my viewpoint this should be an undenyable fact....and it's not consumer choice, because hybrid is better for economy and performance
  • Looks like GM is taking the logical approach I just read an article that thier first hybrids are going to be the biggest heavy trucks/suvs because that will be the most economical and best for the environment and dependence on foreign oil. WELL thanks for throwing us that bone GM, but WHY do we have to wait til 2007? Are American manufactures that behind? I'd like to believe not and instead believe that ur taking payoffs
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Detroit is lazy. Tokyo is not. The second generation Prius is out and on the road, and GM is still having to make excuses about why there hasn't even been a 1st generation Hybrid from them.
  • That's a bit of an unfair comment, jchan. Conversely, one could claim that Tokyo is lazy because Japan hasn't produced real competitors in the big truck market.

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  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I guess we could agree that Detroit, Tokyo and Seoul have different priorities when it comes to which cars to sell.
  • Its obvious that Detroit companies have oil interests, why are they so against the CAFE standards, fuel cells promise for the future is all about downplaying the importance of currently available technology.
  • That's a pretty big claim. Couldn't it be that innovation and re-tooling are expensive, and they won't/can't spend the money it takes?

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  • image

    Lexus 400h on display at the auto show. They wouldn't let us get any closer!

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  • lok888lok888 Posts: 1,749
    It looks the only different (exterior) is the foglights location when compared to RX330. Anyone know the production date, pricing and specification? I read something about the V8 hybird engine with 270 hp.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    V8 power made with a V6 mated to a hybrid.
  • Talked to my local dealer and he said the vehicle should be out around October. They are accepting a deposit for preorder. He said if I do I'll be #8 on the list. No MSRP is announced yet but he said it should be around 45-46 grand. I'll wait and see as more information is given.

    Right now there's really not much information out, other than it'll combine the current RX engine and an electrical one. The RX engine will power the front wheels and the other one will power the rear. 400 denotes to an equivalent of a 4.0 engine with 270 combined horsepower. Fuel economy is sketchy now, with rumors from 28mpg to 600 miles per tank.

    The thing that concerns me is reliability. I know Toyota has 2 Prius but this will be a first hybrid SUV with substantial more horsepower. It has to withstand the abuse in a SUV. It is a very sophisticated system and no one knows how long it'll last. Granted, if you want one car company to start it, you want it to be Lexus. But right now I might just wait a bit and see, and maybe let them work out the problems with the early models. Another dealer has advised me to lease a current RX and wait a couple years before I get the new hybrid. Sounds like a safer bet to me.
  • wco81wco81 Posts: 495
    That is why they resisted CAFE, because they want to be able to keep producing bigger and bigger SUVs, which are their cash cows. Some say if it were not for SUVs, Detroit may not have made money in the last decade.

    So of course they can deal with the margins on bigger cars by putting hybrid systems on an already expensive vehicle, slipping in that extra high price option. And if big truck buyers resist paying extra for a hybrid truck, they can say, "See, people don't want to pay extra."

    It's easy to be harsh on Detroit, given what happened in the '70s and '80s. But with booming SUV and truck/van sales, these Detroit executives think car buyers are telling them that fuel economy and emissions is secondary to comfort and feelings of safety in a big car. Plus, most of the auto executives at the American car companies weren't around probably in the '70s and '90s when Detroit was caught surprised by American's desire for more fuel-efficient and reliable cars offered by Japanese imports.
  • lok888lok888 Posts: 1,749
    thebest2003 - Your sales rep probably want to buy the RX330 right now and tell you it will take forever to the RX400h. Of course, many try to avoid first year model. I agree with the cost of $4000 to $5000 more than the RX330. It is like price different between the Prius and Corolla or many compact sedans. But I still want to see even better gas mileage on RX400h.
  • I drove a 330 yest--asked the dealer about the 400h. He said it will come out by Oct at the latest and be $3000 more than the current 330. Options, etc essentially the same. Said there are 10 deposits at his dealership for them so far. I certianly got no pressure to buy a 330 now, or to wait or whatnot.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    You have to love the lack of logic (not to mention short sightedness) of these conspiracy theories. Are people that ignorant that they'll say anything to make them feel worse about America? The auto manufacturers - Foreign & Domestic - are in business for one reason, to sell cars at the highest profit.

    I think it interesting that no one blamed the European market of being "Paid off" by the oil companies. Where are their hybrid cars, hmmm?

    The simple fact is people that look at large, American SUVs are not all that concerned with fuel economy/emmissions. I know I wouldn't trade in my 5.3L gasoline Tahoe for a hybrid.
  • "The simple fact is people that look at large, American SUVs are not all that concerned with fuel economy/emmissions. I know I wouldn't trade in my 5.3L gasoline Tahoe for a hybrid".

    Who's asking you to anyway? But there are plenty of people who are willing to pay 45 grand for a mid size SUV that generates 270 Hp, gets 30+ mpg and at the same time do something good for the planet. If you like inhaling sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide that is up to you, but I sure wouldn't mind driving a cleaner burning car that is also powerful at the same time.
  • nickg5nickg5 Posts: 16
    well $45-47k is pricey but then again one pays for the Lexus reliability and marque. If one(includign myself to a certain extend) has concern about the electric motor getting a beating lease the vehicle for 3 years and turn it over. Lexus has superb cust service/customer satisfaction.


  • I own a 2001 RX with Nav and love it. We also have a 2001 GS 300 with nav/levinson system and love that one too!! We had 2 ES 300s and will continue with Lexus for the service is incredible. My wife wants a 400h and I'll seriously consider it if the mileage and price are worth it. If the premium is too high and the mileage not a great improvement, then I may get a 330. A $4K premium buys a lot of fuel. Anyone care to comment?
  • mytythor,

    I would like to know how you got the 4k number. Anyhow, fuel economy isn't the only benefit of HSD. You will also get an ECVT transmission which has virtually infinite amount of gears. You will always be in top gear without any up or down shift lag. You will also get dead silence quietness at the stop lights.

    Push start button and Smart Entry will be extra convenient features. The heater will deliver heat faster from a cold start. You will also get a touch screen control for climate control.

    There will also be more space in the front; more leg room due to compact hybrid packaging and removal of the gear box. You will not fall asleep during traffic congestion also. :)

    I assumed all those Prius features will make it to 400h. Most of them are benefits by HSD design.
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