Toyota is set to sell its 80,000th hybrid vehicle in Australia – a milestone that occurs almost 20 years after the first Prius was launched in Japan.
The local company’s hybrid sales counter started ticking in 2001 with the arrival in Australia of the first of four generations of the iconic Prius.
Since then, Toyota has expanded its hybrid range to include Camry (2010), the Prius c city car, the seven-seat Prius v (both 2012) and Corolla (2016).
Camry accounts for more than half of all Toyota hybrid sales in Australia with a total of almost 45,000 sedans being driven out of dealerships since its launch in 2010.
This makes Camry the top-selling hybrid vehicle in Australia by far, followed by Prius with more than 20,000 sales. Prius is the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle with total sales approaching four million cars.
These significant hybrid sales achievements align closely with the Toyota-sponsored 2017 National Tree Day, which occurs on Sunday July 30.
Based on global TMC calculations, Toyota’s 80,000 hybrid cars have saved Australian motorists approximately 232 million litres* of petrol and reduced CO2 emissions by 560 million kilograms*.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said Prius started a revolution that has resulted in hybrids becoming mainstream vehicles with global sales topping one million a year.
“When Prius arrived, the focus was on how hybrids could save fuel and reduce emissions – both of which remain central to their benefits,” Mr Cramb said.
“Now, with the fourth-generation Prius and hybrid variants of Camry and Corolla, you can add driving enjoyment and greater emotional appeal to the mix,” he said.
Toyota regards hybrid technology as a core platform that will lead to more advanced solutions with low or zero tailpipe emissions. Hybrids achieve excellent fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions with virtually zero output of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) or particulate matter.
Toyota’s hybrid cars drive like their petrol and diesel equivalents. The hybrid battery recharges itself while the car is being driven and offers the ability to operate on electric power alone for short distances.
Prius celebrates 20 years on global markets
Toyota Prius turns 20 in December this year, celebrating the release of the first-generation car that was launched in Japan with the tagline “Just in time for the 21st century”.
The idea for an alternate drivetrain for cars began forming in the 1960s at Toyota due to overwhelming environmental challenges such as air quality, climate change and the supply of and demand for energy.
In the 1990s, Toyota started to investigate a path for technological development which continues today in the quest for sustainable mobility.
Toyota’s G21 project began in 1994, in which the company aimed to create a car for the 21st century with impeccable environmental credentials while offering the convenience and driving pleasure of a conventional vehicle.
The first-generation Prius was shown as a concept car at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show and released in Japan two years later as a production model, with a 1.5-litre petrol engine working in tandem with an electric motor.
It won Japan’s Car of the Year award and went on to be acclaimed around the world as the forerunner of a new era of automotive environmental consciousness and automotive electrification.
In 1997, the debut of Prius raised a lot of eyebrows and some sceptical comments, but Toyota engineers and leaders never gave up.
The completely restyled second-generation Prius was launched at the New York International Auto Show in 2003. It achieved even better fuel economy, and its “triangle silhouette” made it the forerunner of hybrid design.
The third-generation Prius, again restyled, adopted a larger 1.8-litre petrol engine and was once more named Japanese Car of the Year from its 2009 debut. It marked a breakthrough for hybrid technology, which had matured to the point where it appealed to a much greater number of customers around the world.
In early 2010, Toyota broadened its line-up by introducing hybrid versions of the best-selling Camry sedan. Two years later, the Prius nameplate was expanded into a family with the arrival of the Prius c city car and the seven-seat Prius v.
The fourth-generation Prius, which was launched in Australia last year, offers substantially improved efficiency and driveability, with cutting-edge styling and chassis dynamics that make it fun to drive.
* Based on TMC estimates that its 10 million hybrid vehicles sold globally 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.