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NEW YORK (Kyodo) The number of advance orders placed in the United States for the Toyota Lexus RX 400 sport utility vehicle featuring a hybrid engine topped 9,000 units as of Aug. 31, Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday.

The Lexus RX 400, known as the Harrier in Japan, will roll into U.S. showrooms early next year. It was unveiled at the North America International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

It is the largest number of advance orders Toyota has received for any model under its luxury Lexus brand, the carmaker said.

The large number highlights the growing popularity of hybrid automobiles in the U.S.

Toyota’s other hybrid gasoline-electric model, the Prius, has become a huge hit due to its high fuel efficiency.

Toyota has stopped short of saying how many Lexus RX 400s it plans to manufacture monthly. Motor industry officials caution it may take some time before Toyota can deliver the ordered models to consumers.

Due to the possibility of delivery delays, Toyota plans to provide customers who have placed advance orders with detailed information about schedules on the manufacturing and shipment of their Lexus RX 400s, company officials said.

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