Toyota has today announced that worldwide sales of its Prius - the world's first mass-produced petrol-electric hybrid vehicle - have passed the one-million mark. The Prius was first launched in Japan in late 1997 with just 323 cars sold in that year. Ten years later and global annual sales of the Prius have reached 281,265 units.
The million sales milestone was achieved in April of this year with Prius sales to the end of the month totalling almost 1,028,000 cars, including more than 9,000 in Australia.
According to Toyota?s spin doctors in Japan, Prius vehicles around the world have reduced carbon-dioxide emissions by about 4.5 million tonnes, compared with petrol-only vehicles in the same class and of similar size and driving performance.
Toyota sells the Prius in more than 40 countries with sales increasing dramatically in recent years and even more so recently with the massive hike in the price of oil and the resulting pain at the pump in many countries.
It took just over eight years for sales of the Prius to reach half a million units - and only two more years to double that to one million. The total includes 590,000 sold in North America, 315,000 in Japan, 100,000 in Europe and 20,000 throughout the rest of the world.
Australians have bought more than 9,300 since the Prius was launched in this country in October 2001, with sales rising every year, including an increase of more than 60 per cent last year to a record of 3,176 cars.
Sales this year in Australia and globally are running ahead of the same period in 2007, largely due to improved availability. The Prius uses 4.4 litres/100km of regular unleaded fuel, based on the official combined cycle and emits less carbon dioxide than any other vehicle on the Australian market - just 106g/km.
Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan is committed to developing hybrid systems as a core technology.
"Globally, Toyota's goal is to reach one-million hybrid sales per year during the 2010s. Ultimately, the company will offer hybrid versions of every production car. The corporation's worldwide goal is to approach zero impact on the environment in all our activities, including vehicles and production. While we can never achieve zero impact, we always strive to do better - and hybrid technology is an important part of that effort," said Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner