The Lexus division of Toyota Motor Corp. (Japan) announced that it was delaying the US launch of a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its RX 400h sport-utility vehicle. The automaker reported in late September that it planned to begin selling the RX 400h hybrids early next year, however, Toyota announced that it would put them on sale April 15, the federal deadline for filing taxes, as a 2006 model-year vehicle.
Lexus decided to delay the release to accommodate burgeoning demand for the SUV, which will be built at the company's Kyushu, Japan, plant. Lexus has 9,500 confirmed orders for the RX 400h, 8,000 buyers on dealership waiting lists and about 46,000 potential purchasers who have indicated online that they want more information about the vehicle. Toyota plans to release a hybrid version of the Toyota Highlander SUV about 90 days after the RX 400h reaches US showrooms.
Pricing for the RX 400h hybrid has not been announced yet. The gasoline-powered RX 330 is reported to start between $36,425 and $37,825.