Lexus ups the ante in hybrid car market

The new Lexus LS600h hybrid, unveiled in Japan May 17.

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SCOTT JAGOW: You want to guess how much Toyota's Lexus hybrid costs? $124,000. Toyota rolled out the new model today in Tokyo. It'll be coming to a dealership near you sometime this summer. This just goes to show Toyota is only getting deeper into the hybrid world. Marketplace's Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: Toyota's betting that high gas prices and environmental concerns will drive even wealthy consumers to buy hybrid vehicles. That's why it's rolling out a new ultra-deluxe version of its Lexus hybrid.

Toyota says its technology is the way of the future and is here to stay. But Kristen Dziczek with the Center for Automotive Research isn't so sure:

KRISTEN DZICZEK: It may be true that hybrids will be around for quite a while but the real truth is we're going to still have internal combustion engines, we'll have hybrids, we'll have a whole range of technologies in the market.

Dziczek says even Toyota is working on alternative "green" technologies other than the hybrid.Still, the company sold about 300,000 hybrid Prius hybrids worldwide last year. It plans to sell a million a year by 2010. The new Lexus hybrid should be available here by next month.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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