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Toyota hybrid variants outsell entire Kia line-up

Hybrids represent 32.5 per cent of Toyota’s Australian sales – and still rising


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19 Apr 2022

IF TOYOTA’S hybrids were a stand-alone brand, they would be Australia’s fourth-biggest selling car company.


Data for this year to date shows 18,884 Toyota hybrids were sold in the first quarter, representing 32.5 per cent of Toyota’s 58,047 sales – more than the entire line-ups of Kia (17,452), Hyundai (17,293) and Ford (13,383).


The sales ladder for the first quarter would be led by Toyota (39,163 after deleting the hybrid models) and followed by Mazda (29,835) and then Mitsubishi (23,353).


Sales of hybrids is a reflection of how successfully Toyota has executed the powertrain shift and used marketing over engineering to drip feed a once-unknown technology into lounge room conversation.


It is a growing phenomenon that has introduced other brands into the hybrid arena, all for the benefit of owners wanting low fuel consumption, performance, silence in low-speed (and generally low-distance) operation plus the feel-good sense that the world is a better place with a hybrid in your garage.


Globally, Toyota passed the 20-million hybrid sales mark in February this year.


The sales growth is also accelerating in Australia, with 273,208 Hybrid sales since 2001.


Sales of Toyota hybrids in the past three years alone are more than half of the total hybrid sales made by the company in Australia since its first, the Prius, appeared here in 2001.


In its first year, prospective buyers were at odds with the new technology of the Prius and stepped back. Only 137 sales were made in the first year (of which the Prius was available for three months) in Australia.


The following year, a modest 201 Priuses found buyers and yet by 2007, the novelty was being transformed into acceptance with 3176 sales.


No surprise that the trend to hybrids continues, with sales percentages up so far in 2022 on previous years. 


The 32.5 per cent share of Toyota’s sales won by the eight hybrid models is up on the 29.3 per cent stake in Toyota Australia’s 2021 result, and the 26.5 per cent of 2020.


Best-selling Toyota hybrids in the first quarter of this year were led by the RAV4 (8534 deliveries) followed by the Corolla (3621) and Camry (2994).


There is a stronger uptake of hybrids by private buyers now than even two years ago when the Camry – a favourite of fleets, especially taxis and rental businesses – was the most popular.


Overall, the Camry Hybrid is Toyota’s enduring sales success. Since its 2010 launch here, it has sold 87,151 units, although the RAV4 is catching up with 73,378 and the Corolla at 52,793. 


Judging by the accelerated popularity of petrol-electric RAV4s – restrained only by production issues – the SUV is likely to quickly claim that crown.


A hybrid’s primary purpose – to save fuel and reduce emissions – is reflected in the estimate that globally, Toyota says its hybrids have saved about 145 million tonnes of CO2, compared with equivalent petrol vehicles.


The estimate is based on calculations by Toyota in all its hybrid markets and takes into account the number of registered vehicles, distance travelled, fuel efficiency in each country and the CO2 conversion factor.

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