Vast backlog of orders for the NX450h+ plug-in hybrid remains a problem for Lexus, but the popular NX350h hybrid model is almost back to normal wait times
Supply of hybrid versions of Australia’s second most popular midsize luxury SUV, the Lexus NX, are improving quickly – with one major caveat.
After it launched in February 2022, the Lexus NX350h, which pairs a petrol engine with electric motors in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) guises, quickly became the model’s most popular powertrain.
Huge demand for the well-appointed hybrid Lexus crossover – combined with poor supply due to shortages – saw wait times balloon to more than a year in some cases.
Even though Lexus managed to deliver 15,192 cars in Australia in 2023 – a new sales record, of which 6875 units were the NX midsize SUV. Had NX hybrid supply been stronger the numbers could have been higher again.
A turnaround in the supply situation means that the average wait time for a Lexus NX350h is now down to 3-5 months (as of January 2024) and by mid-2024, new orders are expected to take 2-4 months to be delivered to customers.
“The [NX350h] sold like a hotcake,” Lexus Australia chief executive John Pappas shared this week. “It had two year wait times. Now we’re bringing wait times down and getting some normality.”
Instead of waiting to take delivery of a hybrid NX, some buyers have opted for one of the SUV’s non-electrified petrol engines in NX250 (non-turbo) and NX350 (turbo) guises.
While wait times for the regular NX hybrid have dramatically improved, the same cannot be said for the plug-in hybrid version, which remans a thorn in Lexus Australia’s side.
“We have been inundated on [the NX450h+ PHEV] to the point where we were reaching a three year wait time.” Pappas told Chasing Cars. “We had to stop taking orders. We just can’t have people waiting that long.”
Hot demand and ongoing production issues with the higher-output Lexus NX450h+ – which can travel about 60km on battery power alone – means new orders remain paused.
Very few NX450h+ plug-in hybrid models reached customers after the 2022 launch of the second-gen NX and deliveries remain extremely lethargic.
“[Supply of the PHEV] dried up for us really quickly,” Pappas said. “The situation is being reviewed every month [for when the pause can be released].”
Lexus dealers can still take expressions of interest on the NX450h+ but these are not a deposit and do not guarantee a spot in the queue when orders are reopened – buyers need to stay on the ball.
Lexus is struggling to build sufficient numbers of other PHEV models, too – the ongoing pause on the NX450h+ is also the reason Lexus Australia has not added the larger RX450h+ plug-in hybrid to its local range.
“With regard to the RX [plug-in hybrid], we don’t want to create a problem we know is going to happen.
“We are definitely going to [launch it in Australia] – it’s just a matter of time. We are working with Lexus International on it.”
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