TOYOTA HYBRIDS FLEX THEIR MUSCLE WITH SOARING SUV AND CROSSOVER SALES

Toyota petrol-electric hybrids are proving powerful performers at the heart of Britain’s fiercely fought crossover and SUV markets, with half-year sales helping deliver unprecedented growth for the brand. The new Toyota C-HR and RAV4 hybrids both posted impressive results for the first half of 2017, demonstrating how the technology is winning the hearts and minds of customers.

The Toyota C-HR has blazed an impressive trail since launch in January, its sharp, radical styling and dynamic performance adding a distinctive new choice in the crucial crossover market. Hybrid power is the top pick for both retail and fleet customers, impressed by the advances Toyota has made in smooth, responsive performance with its latest generation powertrain. Sales in the model’s first six months in the showroom have topped 7,450 units, with hybrids accounting for more than two thirds (5,180 units) of the total.

What’s more, the highly efficient 1.8-litre hybrid petrol engine featured in C-HR’s powertrain is built in Britain, at Toyota’s Deeside plant.

The C-HR Hybrid is a winner where cost of ownership considerations are concerned, with a low, 17 per cent benefit-in-kind company car tax rating and modest £90 first year car tax (VED) bill. Efficient performance is designed-in, optimising fuel economy and low emissions (official combined cycle figures from 74.3mpg and 87g/km of CO2).

RAV4 is another hybrid hero, achieving excellent sales momentum with first half results up 65.6 per cent on 2016, with 3,119 vehicles sold, again with a good balance between private customers and business users. Introduced at the start of last year, the RAV4 Hybrid opened a significant new chapter in the history of the world’s original recreational SUV and in the evolution of Toyota’s hybrid technology. The system provides the power appropriate for a family-sized SUV – full system output of 195bhp – and also the option of all-wheel drive, provided by Toyota’s lightweight and efficient E-Four system. This automatically delivers extra traction when needed in slippery conditions via an electric motor mounted on the rear axle.

Andrew Cullis, Toyota GB Marketing Director, said: “The fantastic performance of C-HR and RAV4 demonstrates the increasing strength-in-depth of our hybrid range – a line-up that offers more choice than any other manufacturer. We have successfully tailored our technology to suit the demands of different vehicle segments, so that our crossover and SUV models are a strong and attractive alternative to their conventionally powered rivals.”

C-HR and RAV4 contributed to an increase of 30 per cent in UK sales of Toyota petrol-electric hybrids in the first six months of this year (22,616 units) compared to 2016’s results. Their success also helped push Toyota’s European hybrid sales for the period up by 11 per cent to 527,000 units.

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