Lexus considering introduction of ES300h hybrid?

For automakers, filing for a trademark can be a double edged sword of sorts. One one hand it preserves the name, but on the other it exposes it to the world.

File this one under "unconfirmed, by very possible." Lexus already offers a hybrid variant of the Toyota Camry sedan that the Lexus ES350 is based on, and with Ford's recent addition of the MKZ Hybrid, it would only make sense for Lexus to follow suit.

What we do know now is that Lexus has filed for a U.S. trademark on the nameplate, "ES300h," thanks to the sleuthing work of Car & Driver. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to break down the Lexus nomenclature and realize that the "h" at the end of the name denotes a hybrid powertrain under the hood.

Given that the lesser Toyota Camry already offers a wider range of more advanced engines than the Lexus ES counterpart, it would make perfect sense for Lexus to add a hybrid version as well to the ES line. When you consider the aforementioned MKZ Hybrid - a direct competitor to the ES350 - it only reinforces the logic behind the move.

Adding even more credence to the theory, C&D points out that Lexus has previously committed to offering a hybrid version of every model it sells in Europe, meaning an ES300h is likely in the works for the European market anyway - why not bring it stateside?

Given that everything is based on speculation at this point, it is too soon to tell if and when this model may come to market - but it is worth mentioning that the ES350 is going to be up for a total re-freshening in a few year's time. As such, there is a strong chance a hybrid variant's arrival will coincide with the redesign, but given the mid-cycle addition of a hybrid powertrain to the MKZ counterpart, anything is possible.

1.'Lexus trademarks ES300h...' view