Global cumulative sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles have topped the 500,000 mark, with approximately 513,000 units sold world-wide by the end of October this year.
TMC launched the Prius—the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle—in Japan in 1997 and began selling it in North America, Europe and elsewhere in 2000. In 2001, it added in Japan the Estima (Previa) Hybrid minivan, the Crown luxury sedan mild hybrid and the Dyna light-duty hybrid truck.
In 2003, TMC introduced the second-generation Prius with a new-generation hybrid system called Hybrid Synergy Drive. In 2005, it expanded use of this system to the Lexus RX400h (Harrier Hybrid in Japan) and the Highlander Hybrid (Kluger Hybrid) SUVs.
TMC is now finalizing a hybrid system for rear-wheel-drive cars and will introduce it on the Lexus GS450h in spring 2006.
TMC has positioned hybrid technology as its key technology in addressing environmental issues in the 21st century, and it intends to enhance its hybrid lineup while encouraging the widespread use of hybrid technology.