Prius assembly on one of two lines at Toyotas Tsutsumi plant in Japan

Prius assembly on one of two lines at Toyota's Tsutsumi plant in Japan

The Toyota Prius hybrid continues to lead its class, passing the 2m production mark at the end of September and remaining the number one seller in Japan.

According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, the Prius was the best-selling vehicle in the April-September fiscal first half in the country, boosted by government incentives for environmentally friendly cars.

Prius sales in the six-month period increased 45.8% from a year earlier to 169,534 units. Last month, the Prius held on to the number one spot for the 16th consecutive month and is likely to remain there as the government maintains tax breaks for fuel-efficient cars until next spring.

Toyota said Prius sales are going well in more than 70 countries and regions but particularly in Japan and North America.

The hybrid was launched in Japan in 1997 and exports to Europe, North America and other markets began in 2000. The second generation was released in 2003 and the third generation last year.

Based on data to 30 September, 2010, TMC believes that the Prius worldwide has contributed to a reduction in CO2 output by emitting approximately 11m tonnes less compared with petrol-powered vehicles in the same class and of similar size and driving performance.