However, Toyota Motor Europe vice-chairman Alan Marsh said the small Lexus would compete head-on with cars such as the Mercedes-Benz C-class, BMW 3-series and Audi A4. He said the car would be on sale across Europe before the turn of the century.
Fleet NewsNet understands it will be on sale in 1999 and will be powered by a 2.0 litre engine, but Lexus chiefs declined to comment. While Lexus has been successful in the United States, Marsh said Toyota was 'now fully committed to strengthening the Lexus brand in Europe'.
Lexus UK sales will be more than 2,000 units this year - 25% up on 1996 - but Kevin Flynn, general manager Lexus (GB), said: 'We are looking for a substantial sales increase in 1998. If there are no supply constraints we could increase volumes by 600 to1,000 units.'