You know already that Lexus is working on a new hybrid model built on the same platform as the Toyota Prius. Internally known as the 812L, the future Lexus will be launched in late 2009. What you don’t know is that the company is also working on a new dedicated gas-electric CUV.

The next-generation Prius, which is slated to go into production in Japan in less than a year, is expected to make its world debut in January at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.

It will be joined at the Detroit show by a new Lexus hybrid, which may also feature Toyota’s first use of advanced lithium-ion batteries in place of the current nickel-metal-hydride system.

It is not known if the Lexus hybrid concept for Detroit will be a crossover or, like the Prius, a five-door hatchback sedan, nor whether its sheet metal will reflect the final production styling.

The new Prius is expected to go on sale in North America in late spring 2009, as a 2010 model. The first dedicated Lexus hybrid won’t arrive in dealerships until calendar year 2010, according to Japanese sources. A second Lexus hybrid is tentatively slated for production in 2011.

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Source: inside line

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