Toyota Motor Corporation announced that it has sold five million hybrid vehicles worldwide.
Nearly two million (1,951,243) of those hybrid vehicles have been sold in the United States, under the Toyota and Lexus brands.
In Canada, over 77,000 hybrids have been sold to date and Toyota Canada’s products accounted for more than 80 percent of Canada’s hybrid sales in 2012.
Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles make up 70 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s total hybrid sales, while they account for 16 percent of overall Toyota/Lexus sales, both globally and locally.
Total industry hybrid sales are roughly three percent of the U.S. car market.
Toyota said it estimates that its global fleet of nearly 20 hybrid vehicles has resulted in approximately 34 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions than those emitted by gasoline-powered vehicles. Many environmental experts believe CO2 emissions are a major cause of climate change occurring in the world today.
In addition, Toyota estimates its hybrids have saved their owners more than 3 billion gallons of gasoline compared to gasoline-only powered vehicles.
“With more than 50 hybrid vehicle models from various manufacturers available in the U.S. today, hybrids on the road are saving nearly 500 million gallons of petroleum annually in this country,” said Tony Markel, senior engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, Colo.
He recalled that DOE and NREL’s collaborative research with the auto industry, which started 20 years ago, spurred the development of hybrid-electric technology for the mainstream market to help reduce the country’s dependence on petroleum.
“With millions of hybrid vehicles on the road today, hybrid powertrains are mainstream market reality,” Markel concluded.
Toyota and Lexus sell a total of 19 hybrid models and one plug-in hybrid in 80 countries and regions around the world. Twelve of the models are available in the United States, including seven from Toyota and five from Lexus.
They are Prius Liftback, Prius v, Prius c, Prius Plug-in, Camry Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, Lexus CT 200h, ES 300h, GS 450h, LS 600h and RX 450h.
Of the 12 U.S. models, the Camry Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid and RX 450h are manufactured in North America with a fourth model, the Highlander Hybrid, planned.
Between now and the end of 2015, Toyota will introduce 18 new hybrid models and expects global sales of its hybrids to be at least 1 million units a year in the same period.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A, Inc. forecasts that about one-third of those will be sold in the United States.
“The first Prius was a surprising success and we never imagined the market would become as vast as it has for the hybrid powertrain,” said Bob Carter, TMS senior vice president of automotive operations.
Toyota’s hybrid vehicle sales in the United States began in July 2000 with the first-generation Prius and it provided consumers excellent fuel economy and reduced emissions using a precursor to Toyota’s advanced Hybrid Synergy Drive System.
TMS said the high-technology nature and environmental benefits offered by this early Prius helped it appeal to a small but passionate following of early adopters.