Photo: Lexus

Lexus is reportedly preparing to jump into the compact EV market up against cars like the Tesla Model 3 by reviving the Lexus CT—a hybrid hatchback that didn’t do so hot in the U.S. market.

Lexus stopped selling the CT200h after the 2017 model year in the U.S. as its sales were never quite on par with its class competitors like the Mercedes CLA and Audi A3. It was a hybrid based on the third-generation Prius and made 134 combined horsepower, 153 lb-ft of torque and had a CVT. The car is still sold in Europe, where it performs better than it ever did stateside.

Lexus CT sales in the U.S.
Screenshot: CarSalesBase.com

Lexus is reportedly planning the next generation as a hybrid and now also as an electric car, according to AutoExpress, presumably as a luxury option above the Prius and to compete with newer hybrids and EVs like the Mercedes C350e, BMW 330e and Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar I-Pace.

Here’s Lexus’s European boss Pascal Ruch via AutoExpress:

“If the question is ‘Will we replace the CT?’, let’s say so. If we look back since 2012, the brand has experienced, step by step, a strong evolution. But I believe all the segments we are now in, it’s important to stay there,” Ruch said.

We understand that the next CT’s unique selling point could be a mix of powertrain options – potentially adding the more potent 2.0-litre hybrid being introduced on the latest Toyota Auris. Crucially, Lexus may also offer a CT EV.

[...]

“We might have to think about a different approach to the sector,” Ruch said. “Maybe it’s the time to find something new in the CT’s segment.”

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The report goes on to suggest that Lexus is considering keeping the hatchback bodystyle, but is also considering something resembling a compact crossover, which would probably be the way to go if they hope to reintroduce it to the U.S. That’s sort of how I’d mark the Jaguar I-Pace, too. It’s really just a hatchback.

The new CT model is tentatively expected to show up in 2020, at least for the European market, but it also has the new Lexus UX crossover to worry about. I kind of dig the old model, and now seems like the perfect time for a company like Lexus to make an EV crossover. Why not?

They might want to rename it, though.