Toyota has set an annual sales target of up to 350,000 units per year for the newly-launched Prius hybrid car. The car is now in its fourth generation, with cumulative global sales of 3.6m units since it was first launched in 1997.

The automaker remains upbeat about the Prius' sales outlook despite falling oil prices making conventional cars more competitive. Last year, a total of 240,000 units were sold – mostly in Japan and the US.

The new model claims an improved fuel consumption of 40.8 km/litre in Japan, or close to 96 miles per gallon. This is achieved with an improved battery pack and engine, lower wind resistance and lighter weight.

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