Three Million Prius Later

The Toyota Prius is the mascot of the hybrid industry. Many people could not list 3 different hybrid models off the top of their head, but they all know the Prius. It's become synonymous with hybrid.

Toyota has just announced that worldwide sales of the gasoline-electric hybrid have hit the three million mark. Three million of the quirky, yet iconic cars have been sold since it's 1997 introduction to Japan, and exported to the rest of the world three years later. This symbolic level of sales applies to the original Prius. When other Prius family members such as the Prius C or Aqua rechargeable are factored in, the numbers actually hit 3.7 million units. Across the entire Toyota line-up of vehicles, over five million hybrids have been sold worldwide to date.

The Toyota Prius, navigating uncharted territory with a product that was unique and unfamiliar to consumers, managed about 52,000 units during it's first three years of operation, solely in the Japanese market. It was the world's first production hybrid passenger vehicle. Overhauled in 2003 and in 2009, the car worked out it's kinks and perfected it's strengths. It improved it's fuel economy numbers by 22 percent between first and third generations of the car and reduced costs by two thirds. Toyota has also showcased it's innovative technologies in the Prius such as an all electric air conditioning compressor, which was an industry first.

Debuted at the 1995 Tokyo Motor show as a concept, Toyota began testing in 1996 and the Prius hit the ground a year after. Hitting the one million mark in May, 2007, the Prius promptly doubled that figure three years later.

It's largest markets the U.S. and Japan, the Prius is sold in 80 countries. In certain markets where environmentally friendly cars are highly prized, the Toyota Prius outsells cars of any type, hybrid or not.

It's hard to deny the success of the Toyota Prius. Clearly it's the one to beat as hybrids mature from a niche market and continue to grow!

By Linda Aylesworth -


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