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Toyota Hybrid Sales top 3 Million

Tue, 08 Mar 2011

Toyota Hybrid Sales top 3 million

Who’d have thought it? Toyota has managed to sell more than 3 million Hybrid cars since the first Toyota Prius launched in Japan in 1997. Congratulations.

Back then, few thought of climate change and it seems likely that the Hybrid was conceived as a way to make motoring more economical. Or perhaps less fuel reliant would be a better way to put it.

As the world became obsessed by climate change, sales of Toyota Hybrids have increased and, despite our antipathy towards hybrids, we do concede that for those who don’t enjoy driving – and spend much of their time in urban traffic – the Hybrid is a good option, if not exactly cost-effective.

It’s an option that is a technical sledgehammer to crack an economy nut – particularly for smaller cars – and is an expensive and complicated answer to lowering fuel consumption. But all Toyota Hybrids are very clever transport appliances.

Perhaps, though, you would expect a little more perspective from us on the sales numbers. Because 3 million sounds like an awful lot of hybrid cars – and it is – but how many cars have been produced since the first hybrid launched, and are hybrids a big percentage of that?

Since Toyota launched their first hybrid in 1997 we estimate the world has made around 500 million cars. Which means hybrids account for 0.6% of car production in that time.

But let’s get a bit of perspective here. Yes, hybrids have become more commonplace, but still account for a tiny number of cars. By comparison, diesel car sales in Europe have risen from being around 10% of sales in 2007 to over 50% today. That is relevant – the sales of hybrids are, by comparison, almost irrelevant.

Now if only diesel cars could be as clean as a hybrid (or petrol) on the stuff that really matters – NOx, particulates, etc. – we may actually become diesel converts.

Apart from a nice petrol straight six. Or a throaty V8. Or a wailing V10. Or a silky V12. Or…

By Cars UK