Green heads go­ing grey

Older driv­ers are more at­tuned to hy­brids, writes MARKHINCHLIFFE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

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.

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