COLOGNE, Germany -- Lexus plans to show a production-ready premium compact SUV to rival Audi's Q3 and BMW's X1 at next year's Geneva auto show, a company source said. The car will be sold in Europe and North America, the source added.
The hybrid model, which will be based on parent company Toyota's RAV4 compact SUV, will slot below the current Lexus RX 450h and become the automaker's first offering in the fast-growing premium medium SUV segment, the source said. In 2012, European sales in the segment rose 24 percent to 407,512 compared 2011, according to data from JATO Dynamics.
Toyota Europe declined to comment on future plans for the model.
At this year's Detroit auto show, Lexus chief Kazuo Ohara said a concept version of the SUV would be unveiled at the Tokyo auto show in November.
The compact SUV will likely use the Toyota hybrid drivetrain currently found in the Lexus IS 300h, which uses a four-cylinder 2.5-liter gasoline engine mated to an electric motor.
Automakers are racing to add small SUVs to their lineups because of the popularity of models such as the Q3, Nissan's Juke and Opel's Mokka. According to data from analyst IHS Automotive, sales for small SUVs are forecast to grow to more than 500,000 by 2015 from 154,461 in 2012.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report