It took 12 years but finally, Toyota has marked the delivery of its 400,000th hybrid car in Europe. The first-generation Prius was launched in the region in 2000. Toyota celebrated this milestone together with the announcement that it will extend its European hybrid lineup with two full gasoline-electric hybrid models namely: the seven-seater Toyota Prius Plus and a hybrid variant of the Yaris subcompact.
In addition, Toyota will make a plug-in hybrid Prius, the Prius PHV, available. It will start selling in Germany in the third quarter with a price tag of 37,000 euros.
Two new versions of the Prius hybrid and a full-hybrid version of its Auris compact hatchback have been launched by Toyota since the year 2000.
Toyota's plant in England produces the Auris Hybrid together with the standard version. Toyota’s plant in France will produce the Yaris hybrid alongside the standard Yaris, the brand’s top-selling model in Europe.
Media reports indicate that the Yaris hybrid will start selling in the summer after it makes its debut at the Geneva auto show this March. It costs slightly lower than 18,000 euros in Germany.
Over 3.5 million hybrid vehicles have been sold by Toyota throughout the world ever since 1997, which is when the Prius first started selling. In 2011, hybrids accounted for 10% of Toyota’s sales in Europe. Also last year, the unit sales of Toyota dropped by 8.1% to 527,206 in the EU and EFTA countries, industry organization ACEA revealed.
Market-leading for nearly 15 years, the Toyota Prius is still the undisputed champion when it comes to hybrid vehicles. Packaged with a guaranteed 50 mpg fuel efficiency rating, the Prius is the best loved and most recognised gas-powered car in the U.S. with over one million units sold.
Economical, versatile and comes at a great price, the Prius is rated by the EPA as a midsize car and the most recent versions, Prius Two, Three and Four come with a number of adjustments such as improvements to the head and tail lamps and a redevelopment of the bumper and front fascia. In addition to these changes, the Two has received some 15 inch wheel covers and the latest LED DRLs (daytime running lights). The Three now has the award-winning smart key entry system while the Four features new headlamps, an eight-way adjustable seat for the driver and the latest in comfort from SofTex with the new trimmed seats.
The electronics inside the vehicle has also gone through a series of changes with the Two coming with the brand new Display Audio touch-screen system which enables excellent control over the entertainment area via a 6.1 inch screen. The CD player is perfectly capable of playing Mp3s and WMAs. It also has an AM/FM radio, a USB for a memory stick or iPod, the auxiliary input jack and full audio streaming is available by Bluetooth from a smartphone. The display will also allow the driver to maximise their vehicle settings and provide onboard details at all times.
The Three comes with additional features such as GPS, HD digital radio which can sync to iTunes, voice recognition, fully customizable text to speech programmes and text responses to calls and message as well Entune and the SiriousXM Satellite radio function.
The newly developed Entune system allows the driver to access a range of mobile apps and data packages and right now, it comes with up to three years free service.