As of February 28, 2011, Toyota Motor Corporation announced that global cumulative sales of its hybrid vehicles have topped the 3-million mark, with more than 3.03 million vehicles sold worldwide.
Toyota's history with hybrids goes back more than a decade, starting with the Coaster Hybrid EV passenger bus in 1997, followed soon afterward by the now-iconic Prius in December of that year. Sales of the Prius began in North America, Europe and elsewhere in 2000. The second-generation Prius, with its distinctive Kamm-tail profile, debuted in 2003 and launched the Prius into the mainstream of the car-buying public's consciousness. Since then, Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology has spread across Toyota's lineup, and into the premium Lexus brand, although the Prius remains by far the company's best-selling hybrid model. The third-generation Prius went on sale in May 2009, and the global cumulative sales of Toyota hybrids vehicles topped 2 million by the end of August of that year.
Toyota calculates that its hybrid vehicles, from both the Toyota and Lexus brands, have led to approximately 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions since 1997 than would have been emitted by gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and performance.