23.5.2012 Toyota hybrid sales top 4 million
Total global sales of Toyota and Lexus full hybrid vehicles topped the 4 million mark by the end of April this year. Cumulative European sales of full hybrids reached 423,000 units, and in the UK alone the number has reached 94,000.
Toyota became leaders in the development of hybrid cars as a response to environmental issues – the company believing that low emission vehicles can only have a positive impact if they are used widely.
The Toyota Prius, famously the world's first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle, was launched in December, 1997 in Japan, but the first hybrid vehicles was actually a bus, the Toyota Coaster Hybrid EV which was introduced to the Japanese market in August, 1997.
Sales of the Prius began in Europe, North America and elsewhere in 2000. The second generation Toyota Prius was launched in 2003 at which point the company expanded the use of its full hybrid technology to vehicles such as minivans, SUV's, luxury saloons and family hatchbacks. The third-generation Prius launched in May 2009 and was a hit with customers around the world, leading to global cumulative sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles topping 3 million vehicles by the end of February, 2011.
As Toyota's hybrid range expanded so came localised production such as the UK built Toyota Auris Hybrid and upcoming Toyota Yaris Hybrid which will be built in France. Later this year, the range will appeal to an even wider audience with the launch of the seven seat Prius+ and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Globally, Toyota currently sells 19 full hybrid passenger models in approximately 80 countries. This year, hybrid vehicles have accounted for 15% of Toyota's global vehicle sales.
Toyota estimates its full hybrid vehicles have led to a saving of approximately 26 million tonnes in CO2 emissions compared to what would have been emitted by petrol or diesel powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance.
Having positioned hybrid as a key technology, Toyota plans to continue working to further raise performance, reduce costs, and expand its product line-up, including that of non-hybrid environment-friendly vehicles, to create vehicles that are popular with consumers and help to lower air pollution emitted from road transport.
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