Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that its cumulative global hybrid vehicle (HV) sales have hit the 10.05 million units as of January 31, surpassing the 10 million unit mark. This figure points at the staying power of a technology that is now emerging as a mainstream solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.
In August 1997, Toyota launched the Coaster Hybrid EV, and the world's first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle, the Prius, in December 1997. The milestone of 10 million units was achieved just nine months after total sales reached 9 million units at the end of April 2016.
Following its launch in India in August 2013, the Camry Hybrid which rolls out of the Toyota Kirloskar Motor plant in Bidadi, Bengaluru has proven to be more successful than its standard petrol sibling with a majority of the Camry sales being accounted for by the hybrid. Until the end of 2016, the Camry Hybrid, which is locally assembled and costs Rs 30.9 lakh, sold a total of 2,742 units in India. Toyota recently launched an updated version of the Camry Hybrid with added equipment on offer alongside the all-new fourth-gen Prius.
Toyota launched its first hybrid vehicle 20 years ago, and the circumstances surrounding environmentally friendly vehicles have since changed dramatically. The growing popularity of the Prius led to the creation of a new customer standard of choosing cars based on their environmental performance. As the number of companies developing and launching hybrid vehicles increased, a new segment of ‘hybrid vehicles’ was established. In addition, now that customers around the world are opting to purchase hybrid vehicles and other fuel-efficient vehicles, the entire automobile industry has been able to contribute to the solution of global environmental problems.
"When we launched Prius, no one even knew what a hybrid was. Those who drove it were called geeks or other names. Today, thanks to those early adopters who gave Prius a chance, hybrids have grown in popularity, and have ridden a wave of success out of the unknown and into the mainstream," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of the Board of Directors at Toyota and known as the 'Father of the Prius'. "We are grateful to each and every one of our customers who has helped us achieve this important milestone of 10 million hybrid sales. We are committed to continue working hand-in-hand with them to tackle global environmental issues."
The Toyota Hybrid System (THS), which was incorporated in the first-generation Prius, evolved into THS II in 2003, and was thereafter rolled out in a wide range of Toyota vehicles. The fourth-generation Prius, which became the first vehicle to be built on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA 2), was developed not only with environmental performance in mind, but also with outstanding driving performance for customers wanting to purchase a car that was fun to drive.
As of January 31, Toyota estimates that the use of Toyota's hybrid vehicles in lieu of conventional petrol-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance has resulted in approximately 77 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions and has saved approximately 29 million kilolitres of petrol.