There was an announcement made by the Japanese carmaker Toyota that the sales of its hybrid machines with the Lexus and Toyota badges have hit the 1 million mark in the United States. Sales leader is pointed to be the Prius, the company's first mass-market hybrid and the highest selling hybrid in the world which began selling in the US in 2000.
With the success of the second-generation Prius, Toyota promptly came out with the hybrid variants of its Highlander SUV and Lexus RX luxury SUV in 2005, and in 2006 Camry sedan and Lexus GS 450h luxury sedan, and in 2007 Lexus LS 600h luxury sedan.
In the last ten years, Toyota hybrids composed 75 percent of all hybrid vehicles sales. The selling rate of Toyota hybrids in the US -- 1 million units in less than 9 years -- points to the American acceptance of this important technology. Overall, cumulative global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids have topped 1.7 million vehicles through January 2009.
This will mean a continuing expansion of leadership for Toyota in the US and around the globe in the hybrid range. Toyota, who is planning on ten hybrid models between now and 2012 in different global markets, is aiming to sell one million gas-electric hybrids annually worldwide early in the next decade.
Toyota will launch this year its brand new Lexus hybrid, the HS 250h which will be the first dedicated hybrid and will most likely come with fuel consumption ratings parallel with the Camry hybrid's EPA of 33 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
The Toyota Prius for 2010 has also been enhance and revised to be more aerodynamic and more economical with a combine fuel consumption rating which is 4 mpg higher than the preceding model at 50 mpg.
Toyota first launched the Prius in December 1997 in Japan. It was previewed by a hybrid car concept unveiled at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show. The first generation of the Prius (NHW10) was the first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car in the world. With its increasing popularity in Japan, Prius was brought to US in 2001 (as NHW 11), and immediately gained a immediate following, especially among environmentally conscious drivers.
The Japanese carmaker launched the second generation of the Prius in the fall of 2003 as a 2004 model year. Now larger with new styling and featuring Toyota’s new Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, the new Prius was an instant hit.
From 2000 to February 2009, more than 700,000 Prius have already been sold in the US, accounting for more than half of the 1.2 million Prius sold around the world during the period.