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Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced that cumulative global sales of its hybrid vehicles have topped the two-million mark.
The milestone closely follows the launch of the third-generation Prius, which is the world's best-selling hybrid vehicle.
It took almost 10 years for Toyota's hybrid sales to reach one million, but only two years and three months for the second million.
According to Toyota, total hybrid sales to the end of August were more than 2.01 million, including more than 1.4 million Prius.
Toyota calculates that its worldwide sales of hybrid vehicles since 1997 have contributed greatly to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which are considered to be a cause of global warming.
It says those vehicles have generated approximately 11 million fewer tonnes of CO2 than petrol-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance.
Toyota currently sells 13 hybrid vehicle models in approximately 50 countries and regions around the world, including three commercial-vehicle models in Japan.
In New Zealand, customers are offered the Toyota Prius and in the Lexus range, three hybrids are available, the Lexus GS450h, RX450h and LS600hL.
From next year, the New Zealand range will be extended with the launch of the hybrid Camry which will be built in Australia at Toyota's Altona manufacturing plant in Melbourne.
Toyota New Zealand's General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said sales of hybrid vehicles are accelerating with a very successful launch of the new third generation Prius just completed.
"The new Prius is exceeding our sales expectations with 92 cars sold in its first month and then next year we will also enter the mainstream medium class segment with the Camry Hybrid and we expect strong take up from both the Fleet and Private sectors as well," he said.
Toyota's hybrid sales began in Japan in 1997 with the launch in August of the Coaster Hybrid EV. This was followed in December by Prius with just 323 sales in that first month.
Prius sales began in North America and Europe in 2000 and in New Zealand in 2003.
This year, Toyota continued to broaden its hybrid vehicle line-up, launching the Lexus RX 450h, and the third-generation Prius in New Zealand, contributing to the popularisation of hybrid vehicles.
TMC aims to sell one million hybrid vehicles per year as early as possible in the 2010s and introduce hybrid models in all vehicle series as early as possible in the 2020s.