Cumulative European sales of both Toyota and Lexus brand hybrid vehicles have passed the 50,000-unit mark. Sales of the Toyota Prius have reached almost 41,000 units since going on sale in 2000. Sales of the Lexus RX 400h and GS 450h have reached a cumulative total of more than 10,000 units in just 17 months of being on the market.
Toyota expects its annual European hybrid sales to reach 37,400 units in 2006, while overall sales are expected to exceed 1 million units for the Toyota brand and attain 45,000 units for the Lexus brand. At those numbers, hybrids would represent 3.6% of Toyota’s sales in Europe.
By comparison, Toyota’s sales of hybrids in the US from January-May 2006 represented 6.7% of its total sales (67,279 hybrids out of 1,000,524 total light duty vehicles sold).
Of the major global markets, Europe is thought to be the least prone to adopt current gasoline-hybrid electric technology due to the market dominance of diesels. Diesels can basically deliver gains in fuel economy equivalent to those offered by gasoline-electric hybrids when compared to a conventional gasoline car.
Reaching 50,000 hybrid sales is a clear sign that Europeans have taken to this exciting new technology. Hybrid has already established itself as an advanced solution delivering both power and environmental performance. Toyota is committed to developing a range of cleaner technologies including hybrid, clean diesel and alternative fuels.—Thierry Dombreval, Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Europe