Toyota announced today that worldwide cumulative sales of the Toyota Prius have passed the 1 million mark. While that milestone is impressive, more astounding is the fact that sales of the gasoline/electric hybrid continue to increase year-after-year -- even without a model change.
The Toyota Prius has been sold in Japan since 1997. However, it wasn't introduced into the U.S. market until 2000 (as a 2001 model). The first compact models sold in the States didn't exactly fly out of the showroom (North American sales in 2001 were only 16,000 units), but the innovative vehicles educated customers to the benefits of hybrid technology, and paved the groundwork for the current-generation Prius with its updated Toyota Hybrid System II technology. The current model (pictured above) was first sold in 2005. As owners will boast, it is often recognized as the most fuel efficient vehicle sold in the United States. With fuel prices skyrocketing, the gas-sipping sedan has been hot from day one, regardless of its looks or ergonomics. In 2005, Toyota pushed 109,000 units out the door. Last year, 183,000 found new homes in North America alone and through the first four months of 2008, over 107,000 have been sold. If going green is your thing and the current model doesn't do it for you, Toyota will introduce the 3rd-generation Prius in January at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Related GalleryReview: 2007 Toyota Prius Touring
[Source: Toyota Motor Corporation]
Worldwide Prius Sales Top 1 Million Mark
May 15, 2008 - Tokyo - Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced today that worldwide cumulative sales of the Toyota Prius-the world's first mass-produced gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle-have passed the 1 million mark, with approximately 1,028,000 units sold as of the end of April this year*1. Currently, Prius sales are robust in more than 40 countries and regions, particularly in Japan and North America.
Based on sales figures collected up to April 30, 2008, TMC believes that Prius vehicles worldwide have contributed to a reduction in CO2 emissions (considered a cause of global warming) by producing approximately 4.5 million tons*2 less CO2 when compared with gasoline-powered vehicles in the same class and of similar size and driving performance.
The Prius was launched in Japan in 1997 and began selling in Europe, North America and other markets in 2000. In 2005, Toyota began first overseas production of the Prius in Changchun, China, and sales of Prius vehicles in South Korea are expected to begin in the latter half of 2009.
In 2003, the second-generation Prius, equipped with the Toyota Hybrid System II, was introduced with improved environmental performance and power. In August 2007, Prius G, S and S "Standard Package" Japan models achieved a fuel efficiency of 29.6km/l in the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport's newly introduced JC08 test cycle. (The Prius S and S "Standard Package" models achieved 35.5km/l in the older 10-15 test cycle.) The Prius is also one of the first vehicles to meet the new 2015 Japanese fuel efficiency standards set out under the Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy.
As part of its high-priority environment-management policies, Toyota has made a concerted effort to promote and popularize hybrid technology, chiefly through the Prius. And as hybrid technology can be applied to a wide range of vehicles, Toyota aims to sell 1 million or more hybrid vehicles annually as early as possible in the 2010s.