Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced that as of the end of June, worldwide cumulative sales of the Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle (generations I, II and III) passed the 3-million mark. (The figure is based on worldwide cumulative sales through the end of May 2013 plus June sales in the US.) Total global Prius nameplate sales (the expanded Prius family) are at 3.436 million units.
TMC launched the Prius in 1997. The second generation followed in 2003, and the third generation in 2009. From the first to third generation, TMC greatly reduced the cost of the hybrid system by two-thirds and increased fuel efficiency from 28 km/L to 38 km/L (65.0 mpg US to 89.4 mpg US, as measured using the 10-15 test cycle of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism). In addition, TMC applied for 1,261 patents relating to the third-generation Prius.
|Cumulative Prius Sales|
|Model||Cum. sales (1000s)||Production status|
|Prius I||123||ended Aug 2003|
|Prius II||1,192||ended Dec 2011|
Since the development of the first-generation Prius, TMC has positioned hybrid technology as a core technology required for the development of various types of environment-friendly vehicles and has placed emphasis on the development and production of core components such as motors, inverters, batteries and electronic control units (ECUs), giving rise to substantial investment in Japan.
TMC says it will continue to conduct R&D and invest in facilities in Japan for the development of hybrid and other advanced technologies and achieve sustainable growth by deploying these Japan-developed technologies across the globe.
In the fiscal year ending March 2014, TMC expects to spend a consolidated ¥890 billion (US$8.9 billion)—up 10% year-on-year—on environmental technology development, as well as on strengthening new platform and major component development.
In the same period, TMC also plans to make consolidated capital expenditure investments of ¥910 billion (US$9.1 billion), up 7% year-on-year, with ¥440 billion (US$4.4 billion) invested in Japan, up 9% year-on-year.
Investments in R&D infrastructure include a new R&D facility (651 hectares) and the Powertrain Development and Production Engineering Building (a 12-story structure with a total floor area of 100,000 m2) in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, that will serve as a next-generation powertrain development base, as well as the Aerodynamics Laboratory (capable of producing winds of 250 km/h, 155 mph) located in the Honsha Technical Center.
Future capital investments by consolidated subsidiaries include an investment by Primearth EV Energy Co., Ltd. (PEVE) for expanding battery production capacity at its Omori Plant in Kosai City, Shizuoka Prefecture.