Toyota has reached a milestone after selling its seven-millionth hybrid vehicle. The latest million-unit-sales record was achieved in nine months. As at the end of September, the exact number reached was 7.053-million.
Globally, Prius accounts for almost half the overall total with 3.36-million sales. Toyota began selling the Prius in Japan in 1997. In South Africa this model made its debut in 2005 and since then the local hybrid range has grown to span seven different models across both the Toyota and Lexus brands.
"Toyota is the only local manufacturer to have a hybrid presence in just about every single segment. At the affordable end of the market there's Yaris and Auris; playing in the middle of the field is the stalwart Prius and the premium Lexus CT 200h, while at the other end of the spectrum you have the Lexus ES 300h, RX 450h and GS 450h," says Glenn Crompton, vice president of Marketing for Toyota SA Motors.
"It's not surprising that hybrid and related developments have been identified as core technologies for Toyota in the 21st century. And, the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles has had tangible benefits - Toyota estimates that its hybrid programme has cut carbon-dioxide emissions by approximately 49 million tons and saved approximately 18 million kilolitres of fuel compared to vehicles of similar size and driving performance using petrol-only engines.
"Something else to consider is that hybrids save the most fuel during stop-and-go driving i.e. city driving and let's face it, this is where most of us spend our time on the road," Crompton says.
Next year, Toyota will start selling its first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid vehicle in Japan, Europe and the United States.