The worldwide cumulative sales of Toyota Motor Corp.’s hybrid vehicles have surpassed the 3 million mark. In fact, it has sold 3.03 million hybrid vehicles by the end of February 2011.
Since launching the Toyota Coaster Hybrid EV coach in August 1997 and introducing the first-generation Prius (the first mass-produced hybrid) in December 1997, Toyota has driven hybrid technology from automotive niche towards the mainstream – a feat indicated by brisk sales, with more than a million new hybrids being added to the sales total since August 2009.
Hybrid sales in the United Kingdom began with the Prius in October 2000 and have reached more than 73,000.
Nowadays, British customers can choose from six Toyota and Lexus hybrids, including the new Lexus CT 200h (the first full hybrid in the luxury compact segment) and the British-made Auris. Toyota currently offers 16 hybrids in around 80 countries, including saloons, MPVs, saloons, SUVs and hatchbacks, plus three commercial vehicles in Japan.
The carmaker is preparing to launch 10 new hybrids in world markets by the end of 2012, including six new vehicles and four redesigned models. Toyota seeks to build this lineup and to expand the number of world markets in which its hybrids are available.
Toyota says that its hybrid sales “have led to about 18 million fewer tons” of carbon dioxide emissions than would have been produced by petrol-powered vehicles of similar performance and size.
Even as Toyota offers its hybrid technology to other market segments by means of models like Auris Hybrid and Yaris Hybrid, the Prius still keeps its position as Toyota’s most recognizable product when it comes to the brand’s full hybrid powertrain design. The latest Toyota Prius comes with a modified exterior design, enhanced interior sensory quality, improved instrumentation as well as various affordable multimedia and sophisticated navigation systems: the Toyota Touch, Toyota Touch Pro and Toyota Touch & Go Plus.
The Prius continues to lead in the field of technological innovation, with each generation introducing new, ground-breaking technology features to the segment way ahead of their time. In 2009, Toyota launched the third generation Prius, which features a Head-up Display that projects valuable info into the windscreen base such as the Eco Drive Monitor, vehicle speed, Active Cruise Control systems and the status of the Pre-Crash Safety feature, which comes as an option.
A Touch Tracer display switch is mounted on the steering wheel to let the driver control the ECO Drive Monitor, audio system and air-conditioning without looking down or removing the hands from the steering wheel.
An optional Pre-Crash Safety System includes Adaptive Cruise Control and makes use of sensors underneath the front grille to anticipate possible collisions and activate a sequence of intelligent safety features.
The safety system automatically applies tension to the seatbelts, triggers an audible Brake Assist alarm and when a collision cannot be avoided, activates automatic braking. This reduces impending impact and damage, in case a collision happens.