The new UX may be billed as a more affordable entry into Lexus ownership, but Toyota’s luxury offshoot thinks it can go lower still, as Autocar reports that an even smaller model is in the works. The new offering was confirmed by the brand’s European boss Pascal Ruch earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show.

Such a product brings to mind the ageing CT 200h, a hatchback that utilises the hybrid powertrain of the previous-generation Toyota Prius. It is unclear, however, if the new car will continue with the body style or adopt a more crossover-style look like the UX. The latter could prove a credible rival to the likes of the Audi Q2 and the MINI Countryman.

Either way, the as-yet-unnamed model isn’t expected to go on sale until 2021, with the CT continuing to be in showrooms for the next two years – by which time it will be 10 years old. It will likely ride on a version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) and, like all other Lexus models, will be offered with a hybrid option. It could also form the basis of the brand’s first fully-electric vehicle.

The new entry-level model will replace the long-serving CT 200h

Electrification is a big deal for Lexus, as the industry makes increasingly greater moves in that direction. Although petrol-electric vehicles only make up 182,000 of the 698,000 units it sold globally in 2018 – due to a restricted battery supply and a small market for hybrids in the United States – the company is aiming to move to a 50% hybrid share in the long term. In Europe, hybrids account for over 75% of the Lexus’ sales.

“Europe has a great strategic importance for Lexus because it’s seen as a leading region for technology and design,” Ruch said. “Our hybrid sales are highest in Europe, China and Japan and the wider US market is really now starting with hybrids.”

He added that the Toyota group is already leading the European market in terms of fleet carbon dioxide emissions and is “well on its way” to meeting upcoming 2020/2021 European Union regulations regarding CO2 emissions. “We will be focusing on a core strategy of plug-in hybrids, some EVs and, eventually, fuel cell vehicles,” he said.