28 June 2010
TOYOTA HYBRID SALES PASS 2.5 MILLION
Toyota global sales of hybrid vehicles have pushed past 2.5 million, with consumers buying them at the fastest rate ever.
So far this year, sales are ticking over at 2,000 a day - one third higher than in 2009 when Toyota's hybrid sales topped half a million for the first time.
The higher demand follows last year's release of the third-generation Prius and the recent introduction of Hybrid Camry manufacture to Australia and China.
Prius is the world's most popular petrol-electric hybrid vehicle with 1.8 million sales, representing 70 per cent of all Toyota hybrids. Australians have bought more than 15,000.
Hybrid Camry has now moved into second place with global sales approaching 200,000, including more than 2,000 in Australia.
Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the popularity of hybrids is set to expand markedly.
"Toyota welcomes the fact that many carmakers around the world are turning to hybrids as a practical way of maintaining performance while reducing consumption of fossil fuels and tailpipe emissions," Mr Buttner said.
"At the same time, consumers are becoming more aware that the benefits of Toyota's full hybrid system go beyond saving fuel and money," he said.
"For example, the torque from their electric motors can boost performance without sacrificing economy, helping to make hybrids a pleasure to drive."
Mr Buttner said Toyota's full hybrid technology, Hybrid Synergy Drive, is the most practical "sustainable mobility" solution for the mainstream market.
He said the cost, quality and reliability of Toyota's high-performance nickel-metal hydride batteries made them most appropriate for today's cars.
"Toyota is testing a range of future technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, plug-in hybrid systems and battery electric vehicles, but these are not yet ready for the market.
"Even in the future, Toyota's hybrid cars will continue to enable owners to drive long distances without requiring expensive charging or battery-swap infrastructure."
Mr Buttner said Toyota's global goal is to sell one million hybrids a year as soon as possible this decade - and to offer a hybrid version in every model series during the 2020s.
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Toyota's two most-popular hybrid cars - Hybrid Camry (foreground) and the third-generation Prius. (Models shown are Hybrid Camry Luxury and Prius i-Tech.)