Toyota’s UK sales unit said it had seen an “unprecedented” 30% surge in sales of petrol-electric hybrid models in the UK in the first half of 2017.

The exact tally was a 30.6% rise to 22,616 vehicles with a 43.2% surge in fleet purchases. The company claims 40.2% of its UK buyers opt for hybrid, the largest proportion for any manufacturer.

Mark Roden, Toyota (GB) sales director, said: “Hybrid is no longer a secret, or a mystery. We’re seeing growth in sales at huge levels and that’s because customers recognise the benefits of hybrid in fuel efficiency, in environmental impact and in the smooth, quiet drive hybrid gives.”

Toyota Europe said its hybrid volume grew 44% year on year to 208,300 with one in every two cars sold being hybrid.

Both UK and European hybrid sales were boosted by the new C-HR crossover which accounts for around 80% of sales in petrol-electric form and the RAV4 hybrid also saw “strong sales increases” in the UK and across Europe. Toyota also recently updated its entry level hybrid, the French built Yaris.

In the UK, 99% of Lexus vehicles sold have full hybrid drivetrains.

Toyota Motor Europe said, including the UK, 527,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles had been sold in the first half of the year, an increase of 11% on 2016.

The UK SMMT said earlier this week the alternatively fuelled vehicle sector enjoyed notable growth, with demand rising 29.0% to 10,721 units to maintain a record 4.4% market share for a second month. Petrol registrations rose by 2.5% and diesel fell 14.7%.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: “It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles experiencing rapid growth but adoption is still at a relatively low level and more long term incentives are required if this new generation of vehicles is to be a more common sight on British roads.”

SMMT still forecasts diesel to take 46.5% of sales this year.