Since launching the Prius to its home market in 1997, Toyota has globally expanded hybrid models and sales, and yesterday announced it had sold its seven millionth car.
In the U.S. alone, “well over” two million Lexus and Toyota hybrids have been sold, and the automaker has two-thirds hybrid passenger vehicle market share followed by Ford at 12 percent and Hyundai Kia at 10 percent.
“Hitting the 7 million mark represents our customers’ recognition of the benefits of Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations. “The appeal of excellent fuel economy, driving dynamics and the quality of our vehicles combined with our dealers’ dedication to customer service makes Toyota the undeniable leader in hybrid technology.”
Globally, Toyota has 27 hybrid vehicles on offer, one plug-in hybrid, and these are sold in 90 countries and regions. Of these, a dozen are sold in the U.S. with the Prius Liftback selling around three to one against the next in line, also Toyota products.
Toyota says its latest million-unit milestone came quicker, and indeed the numbers appear favorable for it to potentially grow its lead, and certainly its proliferation.
Plans are to introduce 15 new hybrids across its global markets, this year, as well as to keep opening new markets.
The automaker has said previously hybrids are a formula that work for it, and indeed, among all automakers, it’s safe to say Toyota has the Hybrid Synergy Drive formula – renamed Lexus Hybrid Drive when dropped into Lexus brand vehicles – dialed.
On the other hand, it has eschewed plug-in cars for the most part, and says its alternative energy strategy will be to keep hammering hybrid development, and venture into fuel cells as well.
Next month will be a press reveal of its first FCV sedan, so expect to see more news on that.
Hybrids are often criticized as no longer the least emitting, or gas-saving, but they actually are offset by pros and cons, and their cumulative effect has added up.
By its own calculations based on vehicles registered, estimated distance traveled and rated efficiency, Toyota boasts significant dent in the drive toward going green.
To date, Toyota says its hybrids have emitted approximately 49 million fewer tons* of CO2 and saved 4.75 billion gallons of gasoline compared to similar gasoline-powered vehicles.