Lexus launched Tuesday the first dedicated hybrid sedan in Japan, hoping the eco-friendly model can be a hit in the increasingly competitive auto market amid the global economic downturn. The model, HS250h, has a hybrid-system-achieved 23.0km per liter fuel efficiency, which is exceptional for a premium sedan. Based on the brand’s core principle of “pursuing the essence of luxury”, Lexus aimed to develop a luxurious “harmonious sedan”, hence the “HS” in the vehicle’s name. The result is a car that not only exists harmoniously with Earth and people but also exudes the high quality for which Lexus is renowned. Another highlighted feature is it uses a plant-based plastic that reduces environmental impact for interior parts and components. Lexus plans to introduce the model in North America in September. The vehicle features a total of four switch-engaged driving modes, including the standard mode designed to balance requirements for both high fuel efficiency and power. Eco Mode improves fuel efficiency by optimally aligning driving force with accelerator operation and putting air conditioner into low-energy-consumption mode.