If you throw out the question "which car best symbolizes the hybrid segment?", the nearly unanimous answer is the Toyota Prius. The Prius's success in the hybrid segment is unparalleled and it has become the definitive example of what a hybrid ought to be. Even though the Prius is the best-selling hybrid worldwide and the top-selling model in all of Japan, the quintessential hybrid hasn't exactly caught fire in Europe. It is, though, becoming increasingly popular over there every year.
In 2008, total European sales of the Toyota Prius hit the 100,000 mark. Though the Prius was introduced in Europe back in 2000, it took a long time to hit six figures. The European love affair with diesels hampered the hybrid's early success, but Toyota remained confident that the Prius would one day make in-roads into the market. From 2008 to the present, cumulative sales of the Prius doubled in Europe, reaching the 200,000 mark just days ago. Though it's a reached a new high in Europe, 200,000 is but a small fraction of the car's global sales. It is expected to eclipse two million units this fall. The Prius holds the title of Europe's best-selling hybrid and we don't see it relinquishing that standing any time soon. Follow the jump for more info on the success of the Prius across the pond.
Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc.
TOYOTA PRIUS SALES REACH 200,000 IN EUROPE
As others promise prototypes or tout test cars, Toyota celebrates ten years of the Prius in Europe with 200,000 sales. The full hybrid Toyota Prius, synonymous as the definitive hybrid car, was launched in 2000 to the European market, (1997 in Japan). With sales reaching 100,000 in 2008, that figure has now doubled to 200,000 in just two more years, confirming the significance of Prius as a mainstream model. Global sales of Prius are expected to exceed two million by the autumn of 2010.
The last decade has seen significant improvements to its Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain compared to the first Prius ten years ago. The new car has reduced fuel consumption by more than 23 per cent, CO2 emissions are down by almost 26 per cent, (from 120 g/km to just 89 g/km), with power increasing by 30 per cent; very tangible evidence of Kaizen, Toyota's continuous improvement philosophy.
The UK has remained one of the leading European markets for Prius, accounting for more than one in five Prius sold in Europe. This year's sales to date are 6,579 units, almost equaling the 2009 figure in just six months.
Prius well proven Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain has been designed for low maintenance and outstanding durability, awarding the Prius the lowest warranty cost per unit amongst all Toyota models. It is also one of the most successful powertrains in the history of the International Engine of the Year awards, with a total of 11 titles to date.
The recent launch of the Auris Hybrid marks the start of a dramatic expansion in Toyota's full hybrid model range. The company aims to offer all of its European models with a Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain derivative as early as possible in the 2020s.