In 1997, Toyota marked an automotive breakthrough when it sold its first hybrid vehicle in Japan. Today, just 15 years later, the company sells 18 hybrid passenger vehicles in 80 countries around the world, and recently delivered its 4 millionth vehicle to use the fuel-saving technology.
"All of us at Toyota would like to sincerely thank our customers, who have made Prius the best-selling hybrid in the industry," said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "While we're proud of this accomplishment, we are not stopping here as hybrids will continue to be a core technology for Toyota."
Needless to say, American consumers have done their share in helping Toyota achieve this major milestone. The automaker has delivered 1.5 million hybrids in this country alone, representing some 65 percent of all such vehicles sold here since 2000, which was when the original Toyota Prius debuted in the U.S.
The brand currently sells six different hybrid models in America:
- Toyota Prius—The best-selling hybrid vehicle of all time, now capable of attaining 51 mpg city/48 mpg highway/50 mpg combined
- Toyota Prius c—The urban-oriented hybrid with nimble reflexes and an EPA line of 53 mpg city/46 mpg highway/50 mpg combined
- Toyota Prius v—Delivering more cargo room than some small crossovers, as well as EPA marks of 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway/42 mpg combined
- Toyota Prius Plug-in—With all the fuel-efficiency of the original, plus an all-electric driving range of about 13 miles on a single charge
- Toyota Camry—All-new for 2012 and boasting fuel-economy scores of 43 mpg city/39 mpg highway/41 mpg combined
- Toyota Highlander—Supplying standard all-wheel-drive, crossover-style versatility, and EPA ratings of 28 mpg city/28 mpg highway/28 mpg combined
Three of the vehicles together have tallied more than 100,000 sales through the first four months of the year, more than twice as many as the rest of the industry combined.