Worldwide sales of the hybrid Toyota Prius passed the 50,000 vehicles mark at the end of November, says Japanese Automobile News. The Prius was introduced in Japan in December 1997 as the first mass production hybrid model in the world. It is equipped with THS (Toyota Hybrid System) which greatly reduces emissions as well as increases fuel efficiency.
In May 2000, Toyota introduced minor changes to the Prius and started exports to the US in July followed by Europe in September. The annual sales target for the US market is 12,000 vehicles and so far total worldwide sales are 50,247, of which 45,067 were sold in Japan, 4,631 in the US and 549 in Europe.