By the end of October this year, Toyota and Lexus had jointly sold 1,028,900 hybrid vehicles worldwide, which is a significant improvement over the same period last year, when TMC had sold around 630,000.
The result makes Toyota the most popular manufacturer of hybrid vehicles worldwide, as Honda announced last week that it had sold one million hybrids in total since it introduced the technology in 1999.
Nonetheless, hybrid sales still represent a small portion of overall sales with 86 per cent of TMC’s total vehicles sold so far this year still powered by conventional internal combustion engines.
Of the one million hybrids sold so far this year, 316,600 were regular Prius hatches, 259,700 were smaller Prius C city cars and 159,700 represent the Prius V people-mover. Another 81,800 Camry Hybrids add to the tally alongside 21,600 Prius Plug-In Hybrids and 102,500 Lexus hybrids, with the rest representing the remainder of Toyota’s hybrid family.
The one million figure represents a massive year for TMC hybrid cars. It took Toyota 14 years to sell 3.5 million hybrids but just the last 10 months to sell another one million, which means that (if the sales grow at a consistent rate) TMC will sell its 10 millionth hybrid by around 2016.
TMC hybrid sales in Australia represent less than one per cent of the global hybrid sales tally with Japan accounting for 56.7 percent (with the Prius remaining the best selling car). Toyota and Lexus Australia are expected to sell over 10,000 hybrids this year for the first time on record, which represents a 50 per cent improvement over the same period last year.
"Buyers of passenger cars in Australia are showing a greater move towards hybrids with sales up 50 per cent this year compared with growth of just 4.4 per cent for diesels. In fact, the number of private buyers opting for diesel passenger cars has actually fallen this year while sales of hybrid passenger cars have doubled among private buyers," Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor said.
Of course, total sales of diesel passenger cars are higher than hybrid cars. Nonetheless, this year's growth in passenger-car hybrid sales is higher in actual numbers than for diesels. It's another story in the SUV segment through, as diesel SUV sales remain very strong with more buyers than ever picking a diesel SUV over a petrol or hybrid.
Last week, Lexus Australia's head of marketing, Peter Evans, told CarAdvice that diesel engines are not a long term solution for meetings ever stringent emission laws.