JAPAN: Toyota hybrid sales pass 4,000,000

22 May 2012 | News | Source: Chris Wright

Total global sales of Toyota and Lexus full hybrid vehicles passed the 4m mark at the end of April with cumulative sales in Europe reaching 423,000.

Sales were led by the Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle which was launched in December, 1997 in Japan. However, the first hybrid vehicle was actually a bus, the Toyota Coaster which was introduced to the Japanese market in August, 1997.

Exports of the Prius began in Europe, North America and elsewhere in 2000. The second generation was launched in 2003 at which point the company expanded the use of its full hybrid technology to vehicles such as minivans, SUVs, luxury saloons and family hatchbacks.

The third-generation was launched in May 2009 by which time hybrid power trains had spread to other Toyota and Lexus models. Production has also been localised such as the UK built Toyota Auris Hybrid and upcoming Toyota Yaris Hybrid which will be built in France.

Later this year, the range will be extended further with the launch of the seven seat Prius+ [v in some markets] and plug-in hybrid.

Globally, Toyota currently sells 19 full hybrid passenger vehicle models in 80 countries and so far this year, hybrid vehicles have accounted for 15% of its global sales.

The carmaker estimates its full hybrid vehicles have led to a saving of approximately 26m tonnes in CO2 emissions compared to what would have been emitted by petrol or diesel powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance.