Rumors that a Lexus might bring a premium hatchback model to North America have been swirling since the automaker first introduced us to the LF-Ch concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show a few months back. Toyota's luxury arm then stoked those flames by announcing that the premium hybrid hatchback concept would be shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.
Now a company exec has confirmed Lexus is using this showing, as well as one a month later at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, to gauge the public's interest.
In an interview with TheDetroitBureau, Lexus General Manager Mark Templin said that if response is favorable, then a production model could see dealerships by as early as 2012. A model based on the LF-Ch is already confirmed for European Lexus dealerships for 2011.
Templin also said that while the car would be premium and come with plenty of high-tech goodies, it would not be cheap. He pointed to a more European-style buyer that is emerging in North America, that doesn't necessarily equate luxury with size. He even said that in the future Lexus would look at even smaller luxury cars, but ones priced beyond the ES or IS.
Word hat the LF-Ch would become a production reality in the U.S. first emerged when it was confirmed that Lexus has registered the CT200h name – which presumably stands for a compact touring (read wagon or hatchback) model with roughly 200-hp and a hybrid setup . Surprisingly, however, Templin said that despite the focus on a hybrid model, it is likely the car would launch with a conventional gasoline engine.