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I expect this will be the exact drivetrain we'll see in the 300h, but it'll be $34k or $35k base. Before they committed to having something that competes in the same pricepoint as the HS250h and IS250, they needed to guage the interest in the hatchback platform that failed before with the Sportcross. Assuming Lexus deems the 200h successful enough (which looks likely at this point), they'll use that as the opportunity to kill the HS if they haven't already by 2014. They've made no secret that the lower pricepoint was meant as a concerted effort to expand market share by bringing in buyers in NA and Europe who wouldn't have looked at Lexus otherwise (and perfectly timed with the gas price spike), and now that ostensibly they've gotten several thousand new consumers and some press and momentum and gas prices retreating a bit, they'll try to build on that probably simulaneously with the IS line refresh for MY 2013 or 2014, and we may see a mid-cycle refresh across the CT line where the CT300h would be perfectly introduced.

I would asolutely give up 6-8mpg for something with 50% more power, and a $4-$5k premium is right in line with like what you'd pay for motor upgrades in a lot of product lines in the non-premium market. From a pure volume standpoint, they sell a lot more IS250s than 350s, and a lot more GS350s than 430s, just like Ford has always sold many more V6s than V8s. With the Prius drivetrain already so successful and keeping development costs low at a time of increasing premium compact interest, it was a bit of a no-brainer.
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