Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that as of March 31, cumulative global sales of its hybrid vehicles -- including Lexus models -- have exceeded 5 million units. That figure makes it the uncontested world leader in the automotive "green revolution." The official tally of 5.125 million includes nearly 2 million hybrid vehicles sold here in the U.S. Toyota estimates that its hybrids, now marketed in approximately 80 countries, have helped reduce overall CO2 emissions levels by approximately 34 million tons compared to those of comparable conventionally powered models, and trimmed gasoline usage by more than 3 billion gallons.

Toyota's initial hybrid offering was the domestic-only Coaster Hybrid EV, a small commercial bus launched in August 1997. However, it was the iconic Prius that arrived on the scene four months later that proved to be the ultimate game changer. On sale here since 2000, the firm's first mass-produced hybrid passenger car and its gasoline/electric Hybrid Synergy Drive system went on to spearhead a product charge that now includes 19 hybrid vehicles as well as one plug-in hybrid model.

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Today, hybrids account for 16 percent of TMC's worldwide and U.S vehicle volume totals. That broad-based lineup commands 70 percent of total sales of this greener genre in America and currently consists of the Toyota Prius Liftback, Prius v, Prius c, Prius Plug-in, Camry Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid models as well as the Lexus CT 200h, ES 300h, GS 450h, LS 600h and RX 450h.

As for the future, Toyota plans to introduce no fewer than 18 new hybrid models (as well as its first production fuel-cell-powered vehicle) by the end of 2015, with at least six of them expected to be sold here. TMC also anticipates that its hybrids will account for at least one million unit sales annually by mid-decade.


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