The real reason the 2015 Lexus RC 300h hybrid coupe is not coming to America
The new 2015 Lexus RC 350, RC 350 F Sport, and the amazing RC F are coming this fall to Lexus dealerships. Torque News has been invited to drive the new RC in 3 weeks on both road and track. One vehicle that is not coming to the US is the RC 300h. Although the RC 300h is an amazing vehicle and has many positives, we understand Lexus' decision and would like to explain why we won’t get the sportiest Lexus Hybrid.
Lexus New RC is Supposed to be Sporty
Lexus’ new RC line is intended to compliment the IS sports sedan line. Although the RC is not a coupe version of the IS, there is no denying the cars share a lot including drivetrains. Lexus has also decided not to sell the IS 300h here in the US market, even though the vehicle is popular with owners in the UK and in other markets. The main reason is not that the RC 300h and IS 300h vehicles are not quick enough, though that is partly it. The RC 300h and IS 300h are roughly as quick as the IS 250 AWD, which goes from 0-60 MPH in about 8.3 seconds.
Carbon Taxation Is Why The RC 300h Exists
The real reason the RC 300h is not coming has to do with carbon taxation. As every fan of Lexus and Toyota know the company is committed to the environment. Yes, they make some cars that use a lot of gas, but they do also offer a choice. The choice is that one can get a gasoline car, or a dramatically lower carbon emitting hybrid version. In some markets, notably Europe, diesel had been very popular due to misguided policies that taxed it less ridiculously than gasoline. It was, therefore, cheaper. Many of these markets and countries are now at a crossroads. Despite the hype about diesel’s mileage and carbon benefits, the fact is diesel cannot compete with a gasoline hybrid in either sense.
Lexus has decided not to head down the diesel path. For that reason, the IS 300h and RC 300h are both its offerings in markets where carbon is an issue and fuel costs exorbitant. The US does not meet that standard.
Lexus Does Offer a 300h Sedan In the US
Lexus does offer a car with the “300h” drivetrain. It sells the ES 300h here in the US. I have driven the car, as has a few other Torque News staffers, and we found it a great match for that car, and that car’s mission. I am not a fan of the IS 250, particularly in AWD, because it simply too slow for its mission. The reasons I have laid out for why Lexus is not bringing the car to the US are fact-based. My opinion is it is the right choice. Lexus is at the point now where calling its cars boring is simply not factual. Moving back to “slow” cars in the lineup in US would not be a good move.
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