Toyota Motor has now sold over 2m petrol-electric hybrids since launching the Coaster Hybrid EV microbus and Prius car in 1997. Prius exports started in 2000.

The Prius, now in its third generation, accounted for 1.43m units, or about 70%, of the cumulative 2.02m sold globally up to 31 August.

In Japan, the Prius was the top-selling vehicle in August with sales of 21,669 units, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

Toyota has since added Lexus, Estima, Camry, Alphard and other hybrid models and recently introduced a hybrid-only Lexus model. Toyota’s UK unit launched the lastest RX SUV only in hybrid form and is phasing out petrol versions of its larger Lexus sedans – the GS and LS.

Cumulative hybrid sales in Europe totalled 202,126 in the same period with 50% of sales in the last two years, Toyota Motor Europe said.

Hybrids accounted for over 40% of Lexus sales in Europe and 52% in western Europe alone.

TME plans to make a hybrid version of its C-segment Toyota Auris (Corolla) hatchback here in the UK from mid-2010 and plans to offer a hybrid version of every model in the early 2020s.