Toyota hybrids pass 10 million global sales
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Following the significant milestone, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) target is to increase global sales of its hybrid vehicles to 15 million customer deliveries by 2020 - an increase of 50 per cent.
It took more than 15 years to reach a cumulative global tally of five million hybrid sales, but just under four years to double the total. The latest target represents an even greater acceleration.
Last year was the most successful in history for the group's hybrid sales with 1.4 million vehicles sold by the Toyota and Lexus brands, representing approximately 15 per cent of their sales.
Japan is the biggest market for hybrids with more than 4.8 million sales, followed by North America (3.2 million) and Europe (1.3 million).
The world's best-selling hybrid vehicle is the Prius with almost four million cars sold since it was launched in Japan in late 1997. Prius arrived in New Zealand in 2003.
New Zealanders have bought more than 9,600 Toyota and Lexus hybrids since their introduction to the local market - 7,409 from the Toyota brand and more than 2,200 from the Lexus brand. The top-sellers being the Camry hybrid (2,795) and the Prius (2,598).
Globally, Toyota estimates its hybrid vehicles have saved approximately 29 billion litres* of fuel and 70 billion kilograms* of CO2 emissions when compared with conventional petrol cars of similar size and driving performance.
TMC chairman and "father" of the Prius Takeshi Uchiyamada committed the company to continue working with customers to tackle global environmental issues.
"When we launched Prius, no one even knew what a hybrid was; those who drove it were called geeks or other names," Mr Uchiyamada said.
"Today, thanks to those early adopters who gave Prius a chance, hybrids have grown in popularity and have ridden a wave of success out of the unknown and into the mainstream," he said.
TMC said the first-generation Prius represented Toyota's response to the resource and environment-related issues of the 21st century. It proved so popular with customers that it became a byword for an "environmentally friendly vehicle".
The fourth-generation Prius - launched in 2016 as the first vehicle built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform - also incorporated engaging dynamics for customers wanting to purchase a car that is fun to drive.
TMC said the sale of the 10-millionth hybrid demonstrated the staying power of technology that is a mainstream solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.
The global company said it would continue to expand its range of fuel-saving vehicles - and it welcomed the introduction of hybrid vehicles by competitors.
"Now that customers around the world are opting to purchase hybrid and other fuel-efficient vehicles, the entire automobile industry has been able to contribute to the solution of global environmental problems," TMC said.
Toyota has positioned hybrid technologies as core environmental technologies for the 21st century.
In October 2015, TMC announced the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 that aims to help reduce the negative impacts of automobiles on the global environment to as close to zero as possible, and to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society.
"Hybrid" encompasses all of the component technologies necessary for the development of environmentally friendly vehicles, from battery-electric to fuel-cell hydrogen vehicles.