1.6.2012 Prius is 3rd best selling model globally
When sales of the Toyota Prius began 15 years ago, hybrid technology was rare and almost unheard of – but in the first quarter of 2012, the Prius was recorded as being the third best selling model in the world.
Although the Prius's reputation was damaged by the recalls in 2010, the model has been responsible for lifting hybrid powertrains from being an unknown, niche technology to becoming mainstream and now being adopted by most major car manufacturers.
After last year's earthquake and tsunami, car production in Japan was significantly cut back, effecting global supply. Soon after, the Japanese government introduced rebates and tax incentives with the aim to spark interest in specifically fuel-efficient cars once again.
At the same time that incentives were introduced, Toyota extended the model range to include three additional Prius versions, to offer a four-model family to selected global markets. The timing was perfect to significantly boost Prius sales both in Japan, and in the rest of the world.
In the first quarter of 2012, Prius sales soared to 247,230, behind only the Toyota Corolla at 300,800 and the Ford Focus at 277,000. The hybrid model range gives Toyota three of the top 10 models in the US so far this year, and propelled Toyota back into the global sales lead for the first three months of the year.
Toyota's top market for Prius sales, the US, saw sales jump by 42% in the first quarter, and 56% through April to a record 86,027. The Prius line topped other high-volume car models including Hyundai's Elantra, Volkswagen's Golf, Ford's Fiesta, General Motor's Cruze and Honda's Civic.
Since Prius sales began in Japan in 1997 Toyota has sold over 4 million hybrid cars worldwide, which includes 1.5 million in the US alone. The iconic Prius is to thanks for hybrid technology now being well accepted and valued by passenger car markets all around the world.
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