Three generations of Toyota Prius

Hybrid vehicles have yet to really take off in the greater sales scheme of things and this is largely due to how expensive they are. But Toyota is at least making slow but steady progress in the quest to make hybrids popular.

The car giant has just sold its four-millionth hybrid vehicle - if one includes vehicles from both the Toyota and Lexus brands.

Toyota's first hybrid vehicle was actually a bus called the Coaster Hybrid EV and which was launched in Japan back in 1997. However this was just four months before the company launched a nameplate we know - that being the first-generation Prius.

Around the globe Toyota now offers 19 full hybrid passenger vehicles in around 80 countries, this petrol-electric model range spanning hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs.

Now here's an interesting number. Toyota estimates that its hybrids have led to a saving of around 26 million tonnes of CO2 emissions when compared to what would have been emitted by petrol or diesel vehicles of similar size and performance.



Mar - Toyota Hybrid System (THS) unveiled

Aug - Coaster Hybrid EV launched (Japanonly)

Dec - Prius launched


Nov - Start of full hybrid sales in Europe; cumulative Prius sales top 50 000 vehicles


Jun - Estima (Previa) Hybrid launched (Japan only)

Aug - Crown Mild Hybrid launched (Japan only)


Mar - Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 100 000 mark

Aug - Cumulative Prius sales top 100 000 units


Apr - Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) unveiled

Jul - Alphard Hybrid launched (Japan only)

Sep - Second-generation Prius launched

Nov - Dyna Hybrid and Toyoace Hybrid launched (Japan only)


Mar - Harrier Hybrid (RX 400h) and Kluger Hybrid (Highlander Hybrid) launched

Oct - Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 500 000 mark

Dec - Second-generation Prius production begins at the Changchunplant in China


Mar - GS 450h launched in Japan

Apr - Cumulative Prius sales top 500 000 vehicles

May - Camry Hybrid launched (for sale outside Japan)

Jun - Redesigned Estima Hybrid launched (Japan only)

Oct - Camry Hybrid production starts in the USA; Quick Delivery 200 launched (Japan only)


May - Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 1-million mark; LS 600h/LS 600hL launched


Feb - Crown Hybrid unveiled (launched in April; Japan only)

May - Cumulative Prius sales top 1-million vehicles


Jan - RX 450h unveiled (launched in April)

May - Third-generation Prius launched

Aug - Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 2-million mark

Oct - Sai unveiled (launched in December, Japan only)


Apr - Camry Hybrid production commences at the GTMC's plant in China

Jun - Auris Hybrid production begins in the UK

Jul - Cumulative sales in Japan of TMC hybrids top 1-million vehicles

Sep - Cumulative Prius sales top 2-million vehicles


Jan - Lexus CT200h unveiled

Feb - Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 3-million mark

Aug - Prius sales in Japan top 1-million mark; new Camry Hybrid unveiled

Nov - Prius PHV unveiled

Dec - Production of third-generation Prius begins in China; Aqua unveiled


Jan - Redesigned GS 450h launched

Apr - Cumulative hybrid vehicle sales top 4-million mark