Green heads going grey
Older drivers are more attuned to hybrids, writes MARKHINCHLIFFE
ENVIRONMENTALLY aware motorists come in several shades of green, according to Lexus Australia chief executive John Roca.
‘‘There are very few hardcore, dark-green environmentalists, but those who are are strictly hybrid buyers,’’ he says.
‘‘Dark greenies are very savvy about the product. Sometimes they even educate our salespeople. They know that 90 per cent of our battery is recyclable when dispensed with properly. Dark greens won’t even look at diesel.’’
However, he wouldn’t rule out Lexus making a diesel hybrid in the future.
‘‘The good thing about our hybrid system is that it can be adapted to diesel,’’ he says.
Another attraction of hybrids is that the production process is becoming cheaper, making the vehicles more affordable.
‘‘The RX hybrid is the cheapest Lexus hybrid yet and represents excellent value for money,’’ he says.
‘‘Diesel vehicle prices are going up, but hybrid prices are coming down.’’
Roca says Lexus needs an entrylevel hybrid to attract younger buyers, but the planned mid-sized HS250h hybrid sedan is not yet confirmed for Australia.
‘‘I don’t know if it would be entry-level either. It’s more of an ES size,’’ he says.
‘‘Our average hybrid owner is five years older than the equivalent petrol model buyer. With the petrol RX, the average is 45, so the hybrid is about 50, but I think the average will come down for the RX400h, mainly because of the more affordable price.’’
Roca hopes other manufacturers will turn to hybrids so ‘‘we don’t have to educate the market on our own’’.
One for the greenies: the mid-sized Lexus HS250h hybrid sedan is yet to be confirmed for Australia.