April 23, 2002
Toyota tops 100,000 hybrid sales
Tokyo, Japan – Toyota announced that world sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles have topped the 100,000 mark, with nearly 103,000 units sold by the end of March this year. This represents a 90% share of the world hybrid vehicle market.
Toyota’s most popular hybrid is the Prius which was first offered in Japan in 1997. With more than 33,000 units sold by the end of 1999, the proven technology of the Prius debuted in the North American market in June 2000, soon followed by the start of sales in Europe in September that same year. The Prius is now sold in more than 20 countries.
Since the arrival of the Prius, TMC’s hybrid vehicle lineup in Japan has grown to include the Estima Hybrid minivan, which came out in June 2001, and a mild hybrid version of the Crown luxury sedan, released the following August.
Key hybrid components in the Prius include an Atkinson cycle engine, a drive-power-supplying nickel-metal hydride battery and an electrically controlled transmission that serves as a continuously variable transmission. The Estima Hybrid’s performance-enhancing electric 4WD and comprehensive four-wheel drive-and-braking control are world firsts for a mass-produced vehicle, and so is the Crown mild hybrid’s practical application of a 42V electrical system.