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Could crossover fever kill the Lexus CT?

If you’re not convinced that crossovers are here to stay, here’s further proof. A new report finds the slow-selling Lexus CT hatchback will be axed at the end of its production run, and replaced by a compact crossover.

The yet-unnamed soft-roader will borrow more than a handful of styling cues from the LF-SA concept (pictured) that made its global debut during last year’s Geneva Auto Show. While the LF-SA was a city car, the production model will be taller, wider, and longer in order to compete in the compact crossover segment. The aggressive styling will be toned down, but it will nonetheless fall in line with Lexus’ love-it-or-hate-it design language.

The one thing the crossover will have in common with the current CT is a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain, according to British magazine Autocar. Lexus believes selling premium hybrids will ultimately allow it to significantly expand its presence in Europe, a market it has traditionally been weak in. European buyers currently prefer diesel-burning engines by a wide margin, but strict anti-diesel regulations that favor electrified drivetrains like hybrids and plug-in hybrids are expected to change the automotive landscape in the coming years.

Not all media outlets agree with Autocar, and an earlier report claims that Lexus has already started to developing a brand new, second-generation CT. It will ride on the same modular platform as the fourth-generation Toyota Prius, but it will retain the current model’s hatchback configuration. The good news is that it will be sportier to drive thanks to a more dynamic chassis and a few extra horses.

Read more: Lexus’ entry-level IS sedan gets a shot of Botox in time for the Beijing show

Lexus isn’t ready to reveal what the future holds for the CT, so only time will tell if it is to be replaced by a crossover or by another hatchback. The current CT is expected to soldier on for at least another year, meaning its replacement won’t arrive until the 2018 model year at the earliest.

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