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Toyota Cumulative Hybrid Sales in Japan Top 1M; 2.68M Globally

Annual sales of TMC hybrids in Japan and globally. YTD figure is through 31 July 2010. Data: TMC. Click to enlarge.

Cumulative sales in Japan of its Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) hybrid vehicles have topped the 1-million mark, while more than 2.68 million units have been sold globally as of 31 July 2010, according to the company.

After peaking in 2007 at 347,500 units, annual sales of TMC hybrids outside of Japan have declined; in contrast, sales of TMC hybrids in Japan jumped up in 2009, and continue to outpace those results, based in part on the subsidies offered. The Prius has been the top-seller in Japan for the last fourteen months (earlier post).

Sales in Japan account for 60% of all TMC hybrids sold so far this year (1 January - 31 July 2010).

In August 1997 in Japan, TMC launched its first hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Coaster Hybrid EV minibus. In December of the same year, TMC launched the Toyota Prius—the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle.

Currently, nine TMC-produced hybrid passenger vehicle models and three hybrid commercial vehicle models are sold in Japan. Outside Japan, eight hybrid passenger vehicle models are sold in approximately 80 countries and regions, with cumulative overseas sales having topped 1.68 million units. TMC is committed to augmenting this lineup even further and increasing the number of countries and regions in which it sells hybrid vehicles.

TMC’s stance is to further promote the use of hybrid vehicles, through such measures as aiming to sell 1 million hybrid vehicles a year as early as possible in the 2010s, and introducing hybrid models in all vehicle series in its lineup as early as possible in the 2020s.



Well, is this the answer as to how you define lack of success? One would expect that the Japanese market could become saturated and that the market outside of Japan could grow. The trend is the opposite. What could explain the decline in sales outside Japan? It could not be the competition, since competitors sell basically nothing. Although we have the competition from efficient diesels in Europe, this is only a fraction of the world market and diesels are basically non-existent outside Europe.

After over 10 years, the market still does not embrace hybrids. If this is the case, how could we expect PHEVs and BEVs to gain significant interest in a foreseeable future?

I know my comments are bold on a site lite this and that I will make many of you angry but we should really ask ourselves why hybrid sales does not seem to pick up. Unlike many of you, I cannot see a success story so far in this field.


Peter and that is not the end of the story, 2-5 years from now, new generation of ICE, downsized turbo-charge direct injection, variable compression ratio,will come on the market with 25/30% less consumption. HEV in their current form will not survive it, or in fact yes in form of start and stop. In europe they have very efficient diesel so Hybrid don't make any sense, in US gas is cheap so hybrid don't sell. In japan gas is expensive and emission regulation are tighter so hybrid sells. And you are right PHEV and even EV won't sell either as long as gas price stay below 4$ and that a PEHV cost more than 30 000$. That's where there is a flaw in the reasoning of EV proponent (which I am) they forget that ICE will progress in the years to come and a lot so it will delay the point where EV makes sense economically, and as EV still have limited range and lack of infrastructure for recharging most of people will prefer a 15 000$ Civic with ICE that get 50MPG rather than 30 000$ EV that can only drive 80miles.
The PHEV and EV move will be slow and uncertain for quite a while.


Well, basically I agree with you. Needless to say, I am surprised to see that your comments is more or less in line with my own assessments. Hopefully somebody else has a completely different view so we get some debate.

Though mostly in agreement with your comments, I do believe, however, that some of the HEV concepts will survive and continue to develop, although the relative gap to "conventional" (advanced ICEs) will reduce from the current level of 25-30% to maybe 10-15%. HEV competitors in the future could become kinetic, hydraulic or pneumatic hybrids. If these will become more cost-competitive and fuel-efficient than electric hybrids, it will be a tough race for the HEVs.


I would like to see a comparison between the sales of Toyota's Prius to Honda's cheaper Insight and to the news stories of "runaway cars."


A gas tax of 1$ per gallon in the US would increase the popularity of the Prius. I'm in favor of this tax as it is needed not only for road improvements, but for the cost of the military guarding oil shipping lanes and the cost of combating the ill effects of sending bucket loads of money to countries like Venezuela, Iran, and Saudi Arabia...


No surprise here, since the US market is the bulk of TMC's overseas sales, US sales follow very closely the price of gasoline. Remember when the price spiked two years ago, a used Prius was selling for almost as much as a new one. And I predict the price of gasoline will inch back up so those oil companies can recover their losses from the Gulf Oil fiasco. Get ready for a supply/demand shortage of hybrids etc.


Too many readers may have (wrongly) assumed that electrified vehicles efficiency will not progress at the same rate as ICE/Diesel units. With more efficient, lighter, quicker recharge batteries, future HEVs with become optional PHEVs capable of 60+ mpg without visiting a charge point and 200+ mpg for those people (80+%) who have 5 minutes a day to spare to plug it in a charger.

The normal mass produced electrified vehicles evolution will be from HEVs (with NIMH batteries from 2000) to PHEVs (with first generation LiON batteries by 2010+) and finally to pure highway capable BEVS with improved second and third generation EV batteries by 2020 or so).

Our tendency to compare ICE/Diesels that had 120+ years to evolve to HEVs-PHEVs-BEVs after only one decade of evolution is rather unfair. By 2030, our opinion will have drastically changed in favor of electrified vehicles of all sizes. ICE/Diesels cars will quickly become museum pieces.

Dave R

Should be looking at % of market share, not total sales numbers.

GCC, what happened to the monthly hybrid sales reports you used to publish with the nice graphs?


Both ICE and EVs will improve (and are improving).
The EU's 130 gms/km limit for Co2 is helping as are the new US CAFE standards.

The price of oil is too variable to give a clear signal to manufacturers to build efficient cars, but mandates from large governments and trading blocks do, and this is what is having the effect.

What matters is fuel efficiency (and pollution) - it doesn't really matter how you get there, as long as you do.

If oil goes to $200+ per barrel, the big losers will be the 3rd world who cannot afford the latest, most efficient vehicles.

If you have a car getting 100mpg, the price of oil doesn't matter very much to you. (Directly).


Toyota said years ago that every model in their lineup would have a hybrid. That has not happened yet, but I thought it was a good commitment to make at the time.


The decline in US sales corresponds with the economic slump and the popularity of the Ford Fusion (and Mercury Milan) Hybrid.


@ TM

Excuse me but we no longer send buckets of money to Iran. Haven't you heard Israel's Prime Minister, Bibi. won't allow it. As a matter of fact the US is about to bomb the country.

It's all about that Special Relationship Israel firsters keep yammering about.



You should never assume that a technology transition is written in the marble, we have seen many technology that everybody expected to happened that never made it through, and EV fall into that category so far...it is always difficult to displace a well established technology, Silicon is still the king in the microelectronics after decades we heard that its end was in sight. So I don't know how you can be so sure that EV will kill ICE so fast. To day there is no solution in sight that will drop the price the battery significantly for mass adoption to happen, neither there is a proven solution to go beyond 200Wh/Kg, Vinod Koshla made it very clear and he is more informed than you. You need breakthrough : and nobody know when it will happen, or even if it will happen any time soon.


The day I find a cheap replacement battery to my mobile phone, I will start believing in a bright future for EVs. Though I admit it would be nice to see this happen, I am still sceptic...

HarveyD, remenber that the battery was invented long before the diesel engine.


The sales of the Prius outside Japan seem to have partly been limited by availability. 2010 year-to-date figures seem to be consistent with stable sales outside Japan but large growth inside, and an increase in global sales of 40%.

Spinning this is as a 'dissapointing' result for the Prius or hybrids in general is a bit bizarre in the context of economic conditions. A year-on-year increase of 30% is pretty explosive.


yes i agree with dashpool
this information is biased to make think the prius is not a success.what is totally wrong .a car is profitable since sells more than 100 thousand,so the prius 2.4 milions sold is a success. by the way noruega is the country with more hybrids on roads.


Sales numbers are falling outside Japan. Isn´t that disappointing?


There is a very strong anti-Toyota campaign going on and that, together with the world wide financial crisis, is having a negative impact auto sales. However, 2.3+ million Toyota HEVs sold, mostly in the last 5 years, is very good for a new technology.

We all know that the weak point of all electrified vehicles is the battery pack. Post-lithium batteries may be required to displace ICE vehicles. Lighter, better performance, lower cost solid state (and much improved lithium and other technologies) batteries should be around by 2015/2020 and will boost EV sales. Battery development will go ahead at higher speed and mass production of improved units (for highway capable EVs) will be around by 2020.

By 2020 many ICE vehicles will be capable of 50 mpg but it wont match the 200+ mpg from PHEVs and the zero liquid fuel consumption from EVs.

EV deniers will be surprised.

PS: It would be useful if 500+ billionaires would each invest 1+ $B into future high performance EV lower cost batteries. If not, public $$$B may be required. The first country to mass product compact lower cost 50 Kwh to 100 Kwh battery packs will have a financial advantage. Will it be an EEStor II or III ?


It is likely that consumer batteries should become cheap before the cost of automotive batteries goes down. I will just sit down and wait until this happens before I start to even think about an EV purchase. I will look forward to the surprise I get when I see cheap batteries. In the meantime, I am satisfied with my BMW 320d Touring that gives me 50+ mpg. Eventually, this car will be 3 years old shortly, so I will now start looking at its replacement. I have the choice between a couple of car models that give 60+ mpg. By 2020, I expect much better than that (80+ mpg?). For your information, I will include a Prius, or any other hybrid, in my considerations, too.

Roger Pham

@Peter XX,
I believe that Toyota's recent bad publicity concerning the unintended acceleration problem abroad has reduced Toyota's sales abroad. The acceleration problem is not experienced in Japan, so, Japan's sales of Toyotas remain strong.

Secondly, other Toyota's hybrids beside the Prius all have too big an engine and too big a battery pack that adds a lot of weight to the vehicle that affects handling and significantly reducing the trunk space, while offering far inferior mpg ratings.

I would love to buy the Ford Fusion Hybrid or the Camry hybrid, but was turned off by the very limited trunk space and the weights of these two vehicles, as well as the much inferior mpg rating of the Camry hybrid vs. the Prius.

Unless Ford will come out with the Focus Hybrid with comparable mpg rating as the Prius, I would have no choice but to settle for the Prius III as the next vehicle purchase. The Volt, with its $40,000 price tag and limited seating of only 4 passengers (the Prius and the Focus can seat 5), is out of the question, even though I would prefer to buy an American make over a foreign make.


Very good points Roger. I'm also considering a Prius III (2011/2012) or a Prius PHEV (2012?). A Sonata HEV or PHEV (2012?) may be a worthwhile alternative.


Buyers in the U.S. could buy a Prius, Camry hybrid or Ford Fusion hybrid. They just might buy the Fusion hybrid. I do not see that happening in Japan.


The Sonata's HEVs and PHEVs will (also) be built in USA by 2012 (fall of 2011)?


But the profits will go back to Korea.


Yes SJC. They have learnt from us. We did it for the last 100+ years. The pendulum is now going th other way.

Many interesting decades ahead. Let's see who wins this one.

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