SUV sales surprise

Time 5:04 pm, August 12, 2008

55833lex.jpgALL new SUVs are bad news, right?

Well, there is one out there that’s proving the exception. The Lexus RX 400h.

Last month, like-for-like sales were up by nearly 28 per cent – which, as Lexus points out, is a fair contrast to rivals. They’ve suffered an average 30 per cent decline.

Indeed, some brands have seen new registrations halve.

This performance is largely thanks to the RX’s hybrid drivetrain. Official fuel consumption of 34.7mpg, and emissions of 192g/km, mean it’s economical. But this also grants it exemption from London’s congestion charge.

It seems Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to not (yet) change the rules for the charge have led to more Londoners taking up the appeal of free City motoring. And those in the rest of the UK clearly like the green status afforded by the ‘hybrid’ tag, too.

Indeed, as Belinda Poole, Lexus GB director, said: ‘The RX 400h is the first, and remains the only, hybrid SUV on the market. This gives customers a unique proposition of SUV style and practicality with lower fuel consumption and emissions.’


‘In what is a tough market overall, this gives our Lexus Centres a great advantage in being able to offer the type of car customers want, but without the penalties in running costs they would incur with models from rival brands.’

Just don’t mention its thirsty non-hybrid sister car, the RX 350…

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