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Toyota hybrids hit the sales accelerator

Low-emission heroes: The locally built Camry is the biggest-selling Toyota hybrid in Australia, with Prius close behind.

Seven million Toyota hybrids sold globally since the Prius arrived in 1997

Toyota logo15 Oct 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

TOYOTA says worldwide sales of its hybrid cars have reached seven million, with the latest million racked up in just nine months.

In Australia, more than 67,000 Toyota and Lexus hybrids have been sold since the first petrol-electric Prius was launched 17 years ago.

The results released by the Japanese car-maker show its domestic market is the largest consumer of its hybrid vehicles, taking almost half the world volume.

Not far behind is the United States with 2.2 million, while 770,000 have been sold in Europe. Australia’s total is 67,686.

The Prius, which went on sale in Japan in 1997, accounts for nearly half the global total, with 3.36 million sold, making it the biggest-selling hybrid in the world.

Since it arrived in Australia in 2001, the Prius has notched up 18,972 sales, while new variants that followed in 2012 – the Prius C light car and Prius V seven-seater – have recorded sales of 5514 and 2419 respectively.

The locally built Camry Hybrid is Australia’s favourite hybrid-powered Toyota, accumulating 28,537 sales since 2010.

The luxury Lexus sub-brand has sold 12,244 hybrids, with the CT200h hatch and RX450h SUV the biggest sellers.

Toyota Australia product public relations manage Steve Coughlan told GoAuto the sales milestone underlined the mass-market acceptance of hybrids.

“Hitting the seven-million mark is an incredible accomplishment that demonstrates the recognition by our customers of the benefits of Toyota hybrid vehicles,” he said.

“Toyota hybrid vehicles have now achieved global mass-market appeal, making Toyota the undeniable leader in hybrid technology. This is not just due to their impressive fuel economy, but also for their driving dynamics and quality.” Next year Toyota will begin selling its first mass-production hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid vehicle – a four-door sedan tipped to be called Mirai.

Mr Coughlan said Toyota Australia was not planning to sell it here, but that could change if the market demanded it.

“The upcoming hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, to be launched in Japan, Europe and the United States, is another example of Toyota’s pioneering approach,” he said.

“It demonstrates Toyota's diverse approach to future mobility, with Hybrid vehicles (HEV), Electric Vehicles (EV), Plug-in Hybrid vehicles (P-HEV) Fuel Cell vehicles (FCV) and of course, conventional engine technology available within the global product line-up.

“There are no current plans to sell hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in Australia.

“However, if sufficient local demand emerges and the relevant infrastructure is put in place, then this is something we could explore further.

“Toyota plans to continue expanding its hybrid line-up globally. Locally, our product planning team are constantly examining opportunities within the Australian automotive marketplace, in line with market requirements and consumer demand.”

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