RISE IN CLEAN AIR AWARENESS POWERS TOYOTA TO NEW UK SALES RECORD

Sustained growth in petrol-electric hybrid sales helps deliver new monthly high figures in March

Growing public interest in air quality is helping fuel a surge in sales of Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid cars. The first quarter of 2017 has seen customer demand for Toyota hybrids grow by more than 40 per cent compared to the same period last year, while sales of all Toyota group vehicles* reached a new monthly record high of 29,415 units in March.

Toyota’s March performance improves on the group’s previous high set back in 2007 and sees its share of the retail market increase to 5.34 per cent. Retail sales of Toyota brand hybrids for the first quarter of 2017 have achieved a 47.8 per cent year-on-year increase.

With people increasingly aware of and sensitive to health issues that can be aggravated by air pollution, there is a greater customer focus on vehicle emissions, going beyond CO2 to include levels of nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulates. At the same time, Toyota has increased the range of hybrids on offer and developed its world-leading technology to achieve even better environmental performance.

More than that, Toyota hybrids are every bit as practical as conventionally powered cars, offer proven reliability, are economical to run and have a full driving range. They are also characterised by their quiet, smooth and relaxing drive quality.

“The record results we achieved in March and the strong growth evident throughout the first quarter reflect an important shift in people’s mindset,” said Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota GB President and Managing Director. “What we are hearing from customers and from our retailers is that interest in clean powertrain technologies is increasing and that the benefits they have for air quality are becoming an increasingly important consideration when buying a vehicle.

“Our wide range of advanced hybrids is being sought out as cars that can deliver significantly lower emissions while providing all the benefits of practicality, reliability, quality and competitive ownership costs that people expect.”

Since the introduction of the original Prius in Japan almost 20 years ago, Toyota has gained unmatched experience in hybrid, establishing it as a core powertrain technology. At the same time as it has made continuous improvements in performance and driver appeal, it has made hybrid available throughout its passenger car range, reaching more customers in more market segments. Ultimately this will help Toyota achieve zero emissions from its vehicles, an important goal within its global Environmental Challenge 2050 programme.

Toyota hybrids deliver multiple ownership benefits, in addition to their environmental efficiency. Their inherent strong fuel economy and simpler servicing and maintenance requirements help keep running costs down. As they are petrol-electric hybrids, there is no limit on driving distance, so drivers have no “range anxiety,” and they have an easy and relaxing driver quality. Toyota’s hybrid technology has also established a great reputation for reliability and long-lasting quality.

UK customers have never had such a wide range of Toyota hybrids to choose from, ranging from the new Yaris – still the market’s only full hybrid supermini – to the fourth generation Prius, RAV4 SUV and the new C-HR crossover, the latest addition to the line-up. Britain is also a centre of excellence for hybrid vehicle manufacturing: engines are produced at Toyota’s Deeside factory in North Wales, and the Burnaston car plant manufactures Auris Hybrid hatchback and wagon models, both for Europe and for export to other world markets.

Through its Lexus brand, Toyota has also pioneered hybrid within the luxury car market, amplifying the benefits of its inherent smooth and quiet performance while also increasing levels of driver engagement, notably with the new Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System that features in the radical new LC 500h luxury coupe.

* Toyota passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and Lexus models

ENDS

Notes to editors – Toyota hybrid benefits in brief

Kinder to the environment: motorists are more keenly aware than ever of the impact of vehicle emissions, not just greenhouse gases that can affect climate change, but also emissions such as nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulates that can have an impact on air quality and public health. Toyota hybrids are able to use their electric power to eliminate all emissions when running in slow-moving urban traffic – the kind of environment where air pollution is of particular concern; at all times the engineered-in efficiency of the hybrid system ensures emissions are kept to a minimum, with ultra-low CO2, near-zero NOx and no particulate matter.

Economical to run: fuel efficiency is a core quality of Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrids. As “full” hybrids they can seamlessly and automatically switch to all-electric operation, when conditions permit, reducing both fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions to zero. At other times, the system’s power split device determines the most efficient use of the vehicle’s electric motor and petrol engine to achieve the best possible mpg. The focus on efficiency extends to making components smaller and lighter, reducing energy losses within the engine by reducing friction and improving heat management, and producing wind-cheating, aerodynamic vehicle designs.

Service, maintenance and repair costs are kept down thanks to the powertrain having fewer components, or parts that are maintenance-free, such as the hybrid battery. Toyota hybrids have established an excellent reputation for long-lasting and hard-wearing quality; in common with all Toyota models, they come with the peace of mind protection of a five-year/100,000-mile new vehicle warranty.

No “range anxiety”: Toyota petrol-electric hybrids know no limits when it comes to driving range. The hybrid battery is automatically recharged as the vehicle is driven, including the capture and conversion of energy into electricity every time the car slows down or brakes. That means there is no need to plug the vehicle in for recharging, or any limit to journey distances – the only stop required is a few minutes to refuel the tank.

Practical to own, comfortable to drive: Toyota has a hybrid in almost every market segment, with nine different models available to UK customers. Owning and driving a hybrid doesn’t require special skills and their easy-to-drive quality is matched by their practicality in terms of cabin and boot space and, where the RAV4 and C-HR are concerned, the availability of all-wheel drive. According to model, the driver can choose their preferred drive mode, prioritising, performance or fuel and emissions efficiency according to preference and driving conditions. Some hybrids also offer an all-electric EV mode, which will maintain zero emissions/zero fuel consumption running within set parameters of vehicle speed, traveling distance and driver inputs.

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