You take your victories where you can. In Toyota's case, that means disclosing the cumulative total of hybrid sales since the first Prius was sold in Japan in 1997. And that number is impressive.

During its monthly conference call discussing sales, Toyota representatives noted that the automaker has sold over 7 million hybrids during the past 17 years. The Japanese automaker started selling the Prius in the Japan in 1997 (and in US in 2000) and firmly established itself as the world's largest hybrid maker. Today, Toyota sells four Prius models as well as gas-electric versions of the Camry, Avalon and Highlander in the US.

Of course, such big sales aren't always easy to match, and Toyota's been lagging behind 2013's numbers all year. Including its Lexus division, Toyota's green-car sales including the low-volume RAV4 electric vehicle fell 10 percent from a year earlier in September to just over 21,000 vehicles. Through the first three quarters of the year, Toyota's green-car sales were down 9.1 percent to almost 247,000 vehicles. That still dwarfs any other automakers' green-car numbers.

Toyota crossed the 6 million hybrid threshold in January when it doubled the 3 million total from March 2011. Toyota will start selling its first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle in Europe next summer, and hopes that it will repeat the long-term success that the Prius has enjoyed, according to Automotive News Europe. For a transcript of the September sales call, click here.

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