As of the end of 2013, Toyota has sold 6.07 million hybrid vehicles globally since it first launched a series-production hybrid in 1997. Of that impressive total, 2.3 million Toyota and Lexus hybrids have been sold in North America, and the automaker has sold a total of 3.2 million copies of the Prius globally since its launch 17 years ago.
Toyota cites its first production hybrid model as the Coaster EV, a version of the company’s Japanese-market Coaster bus launched with a hybrid powertrain in August 1997. But the company didn’t become synonymous with hybrids until a few months later, when the first generation of the Toyota Prius went on sale in December 1997. Since then, Toyota has expanded its hybrid range to encompass a total of 25 vehicles, including the Prius plug-in hybrid.
When combined with the Prius C and Prius V hatchbacks, the Toyota Prius nameplate overall has racked up 4.2 million sales worldwide. By contrast, all of the hybrid Lexus models sold globally — including the popular RX crossover hybrid — total just 656,900 cumulative sales.
Sales of Toyota hybrids have sped up dramatically over the years; Toyota had sold only three million hybrids worldwide by 2011. It took from 1997 until 2002 for Toyota to sell 100,000 examples of the Prius globally, but just four years later, cumulative sales had reached 500,000 worldwide. By April 2008, Toyota Prius sales hit the one-million unit mark, just 11 years after the car’s launch, and the car racked up three million sales by early 2013. The first-generation Toyota Prius launched in Japan in late 1997, the second-generation model arrived in September 2003, and the third-generation Prius that is still on sale today debuted in May 2009.