22 May 2012

Total global sales of Toyota and Lexus full hybrid vehicles have topped the 4 million mark as of April 30. Cumulative sales of full hybrid vehicles in Europe reached 423,000 units. In the UK the number is 94,000.

Toyota became leaders in the development of hybrid cars as a response to environmental issues, the company believing that low emission vehicles can only have a positive impact if they are used widely.

It Started with a Bus

The Toyota Prius, famously the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle, was launched in December, 1997 in Japan, but the first hybrid vehicles was actually a bus, the Toyota Coaster Hybrid EV which was introduced to the Japanese market in August, 1997.

Sales of the Prius began in Europe,North America and elsewhere in 2000. The second generation Toyota Prius was launched in 2003 at which point the company expanded the use of its full hybrid technology to vehicles such as minivans, SUV’s, luxury saloons and family hatchbacks. The third-generation Prius launched in May 2009 and was a hit with customers around the world, leading to global cumulative sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles topping 3 million vehicles by the end of February, 2011.

Different Shapes and Sizes and Made in Europe

As Toyota’s hybrid range expanded so came localised production such as the UK built Toyota Auris Hybrid and upcoming Toyota Yaris Hybrid which will be built in France. Later this year, the range will appeal to an even wider audience with the launch of the seven seat Prius+ and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

Globally, Toyota currently sells 19 full hybrid passenger vehicle models in approximately 80 countries. This year, hybrid vehicles have accounted for 15% of Toyota’s global vehicle sales.

Saving for the Future

Toyota estimates its full hybrid vehicles have led to a saving of approximately 26 million tonnes1 in CO2 emissions compared to what would have been emitted by petrol or diesel powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance.

Having positioned hybrid as a key technology, Toyota plans to continue working to further raise performance, reduce costs, and expand its product line-up, including that of non-hybrid environment-friendly vehicles, to create vehicles that are popular with consumers.

1 Number of registered vehicles × ave distance travelled × fuel saved × CO2 conversion factor

Notes to the editors:

Toyota Motor Corporation hybrid timeline:

Year Month Milestone
1997 Mar Toyota Hybrid System (THS) unveiled
Aug Coaster Hybrid EV launched (Japanonly)
Dec Prius launched
2000 Nov Start of full hybrid sales inEurope; Cumulative Prius sales top 50,000 vehicles
2001 Jun Estima (Previa) Hybrid launched (Japanonly)
Aug Crown Mild Hybrid launched (Japanonly)
2002 Mar Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 100,000 mark
Aug Cumulative Prius sales top 100,000 vehicles
2003 Apr Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) unveiled
Jul Alphard Hybrid launched (Japanonly)
Sep Second-generation Prius launched
Nov Dyna Hybrid and Toyoace Hybrid launched (Japanonly)
2005 Mar Harrier Hybrid (RX 400h) and Kluger Hybrid (Highlander Hybrid) launched
Oct Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 500,000 mark
Dec Second-generation Prius production commenced at theChangchunplant inChina
2006 Mar GS 450h launched inJapan
Apr Cumulative Prius sales top 500,000 vehicles
May Camry Hybrid launched (for sale outsideJapan)
Jun Redesigned Estima Hybrid launched (Japanonly)
Oct Camry Hybrid production commenced at the TMMK’s Kentucky Plant,U.S.; Quick Delivery 200 launched (Japanonly)
2007 May Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 1 million mark; LS 600h/LS 600hL launched
2008 Feb Crown Hybrid unveiled (launched in April;Japanonly)
May Cumulative Prius sales top 1 million vehicles
2009 Jan RX 450h unveiled (launched in April)
May Third-generation Prius launched
Jul Camry Hybrid production commenced at the TMT’s Gateway Plant,Thailand; HS 250h launched
Aug Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 2 million mark
Oct Sai unveiled (launched in December, Japan only)
Dec Camry Hybrid production commenced at the TMCA’sAltona Plant,Australia
2010 Apr Camry Hybrid production commenced at the GTMC’s plant inChina
Jun Auris Hybrid production commenced at the TMUK’sBurnaston Plant,UK; Auris Hybrid launched (for sale outsideJapan)
Jul Cumulative sales in Japan of TMC hybrids top 1 million vehicles
Sep Cumulative Prius sales top 2 million vehicles
Nov Third-generation Prius production commenced at TMT’s GatewayPlant,Thailand
2011 Jan Annual Prius sales inJapanof new vehicles in 2010 were 315,669 vehicles, the largest amount of annual sales ever recorded; CT 200h unveiled
Feb Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 3 million mark
May Prius α launched
Aug Prius sales inJapantop 1 million mark; Camry Hybrid unveiled; Hybrid models of the Alphard and Vellfire added (launched in November, Japan only);
Oct TMEC of China conducts cornerstone laying ceremony and announces plan to produce and sell vehicles with hybrid system produced inChinajointly with China FAW Group and GAC by around 2015
Nov Prius PHV unveiled (launched in January 2012 inJapanand March in theU.S.and scheduled for launch inEuropein the summer of 2012)
Dec Production of third-generation Prius commenced at SFTM’s Changchun Plant inChina; Aqua unveiled
2012 Jan Redesigned GS 450h launched
Feb Start of Highlander Hybrid production at Indiana Plant in the second half of 2013 announced; production and sale of Camry Hybrid inTaiwancommenced
Apr Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 4 million mark


Download this release as a PDF below



Images are copyright free for editorial purposes only

Media enquiries

Please click here to see the press contacts at Toyota (GB):

Show Press Contacts

For further information, please contact:

David Rogers

07825 280608 or by email at

General, alternative fuels and mobility media enquiries

David Crouch

07909 900 085 or by email at

General, fleet and motorsport media enquiries

Please understand that our press team only deal with enquiries from media representatives.

Toyota and Lexus Press Releases

To receive all Toyota and Lexus press information, please select the box below.

To update your profile type in your email address and press return. MailChimp will then send you an email confirming your details and you will then have the opportunity of amending your details.

* indicates required
All Toyota/Lexus News