Lexus confirmed this week that it is pulling the plug on the CT 200h hybrid hatchback after seven model years in production in the U.S. The CT 200h, rooted in the LF-Ch concept introduced in 2009 at the Frankfurt auto show in Germany, never really caught on with American car buyers (or our reviewers), but it was able to survive in an ecosystem largely free of natural predators.
"Production of the CT 200h for the U.S. market ceased in March 2017," said Curt McAllister, Midwest public relations manager for Lexus parent Toyota, in a statement. "Lexus continually monitors sales of each model and its role in the product lineup. We make adjustments to ensure our product lineup meets market demand. Ceasing CT 200h for the U.S. market is part of this adjustment."
McAllister told that production is expected to continue outside North America. "It's done in this market, but it's still existing in other markets," he said.
In his review of the CT 200h, 's Joe Wiesenfelder indicated that the hybrid continued to underwhelm in terms of its powertrain, luxuriousness, sportiness and affordability — and was fast losing ground in fuel efficiency to newer-model hybrids such as its cousin, the Toyota Prius. The 2017 CT 200h's EPA-estimated fuel economy is 43/40/42 mpg city/highway/combined and starts at $32,225. The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, meanwhile, boasts 55/54/55 mpg and starts at more than $9,000 less (prices include destination).
Accompanying the announcement of the CT 200h's demise was speculation that Lexus would replace it with a crossover, a potentially lucrative move in a white-hot market for small SUVs. The all-new Toyota C-HR could serve as the platform to launch a new subcompact luxury SUV.