Toyota UK is celebrating 100,000 hybrid vehicles sold since its technology was launched.
It was 14 years ago, on Oct. 19, 2000, that Toyota began UK sales of its first-generation Prius.
Toyota said the 100,000th hybrid sold in the UK is British-built, an Auris Hybrid Touring Sports in top-of-the-range Excel trim, produced by Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) at its Burnaston plant, near Derby. Under the hood, its hybrid system includes a 1.8-liter VVT-i gasoline engine manufactured by TMUK at Deeside in North Wales.
The company stated Hybrid is at the heart of Toyota’s investment in UK manufacturing, with Auris and Auris Touring Sports models built there for export worldwide.
The original Toyota hybrid customers were true pioneers, added Toyota, adopting an advanced technology that promised low carbon emissions and, for its time, exceptional official fuel economy of 61.4 Imperial mpg. Just one version of the quirkily styled four door saloon was on offer, with a £16,495 price tag. Sales then were through a network of 60 Toyota Hybrid Technology Centers, which were also responsible for servicing, repairs and recycling. To help reassure the early adopters, Toyota UK then provided a five-year warranty and the option of a peace-of-mind leasing arrangement.
Toyota added today there are six different Toyota hybrids sold in the UK, covering the market from compact superminis and family hatchbacks to seven-seat MPVs. Expansion of the range has gone hand-in-hand with accelerating sales; global sales of Toyota group hybrids are nearing seven million, with the Prius now among the world’s most popular cars.
The company explained British enthusiasm for Toyota hybrids is reflected in the fact sales of hybrid-powered Auris are set to overtake those of gasoline and diesel versions combined and the Yaris Hybrid is taking an increasingly large share of overall sales of the supermini.
Of course, continued the company, Toyota models are just part of the hybrid picture: sister brand Lexus has progressively brought the benefits of hybrid power and sophistication to the luxury car market and is closing in fast on 50,000 UK sales, achieved since the debut in the UK of the RX 400h in 2005.