Frankfurt 2011: Prius unparallelled Prius success leads to introduction of Prius family
— Prius is the world's best selling hybrid — 3rd generation has already sold more than 1 million units since its launch only 2 years ago
— Toyota to launch some 10 new hybrids by 2015
— Introducing the Prius family: Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Prius+ and new Prius
Over four decades of research and development, Toyota has continuously been in search of the ultimate eco car. The company's early decision to develop mass-production hybrid vehicles, available to the broader consumer base, has proven to be an unparalleled success story.
The Prius' unique Hybrid Synergy Drive® (HSD) powertrain established a major industry milestone in sustainable mobility, and its name, meaning 'to go before' in Latin, quickly became symbolic of a car that was launched even before environmental awareness became a mainstream social concern.
Maintaining its environmental and technological leadership for over a decade, the multiple award-winning Prius is the world's best-selling hybrid with over 2.3 million units sold. Prius is now more popular than ever, and the third generation model, launched in 2009, has already sold over 1 million units.
Since 1997, Toyota Motor Corporation has sold more than 3.3 million full hybrid vehicles worldwide. This represents more than 80% of all global hybrid sales, and gives the company an unquestionable lead in the drive towards sustainable mobility. As concrete, tangible proof of HSD's environmental record, these sales have already contributed to a reduction in automotive emissions of some 21 million tonnes of CO2.
Hybrid Synergy Drive® has been specifically designed to be modular and adaptable to diverse energy sources. Its application in the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and Toyota's ongoing research into Electric Vehicles (EV) and Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHV), offers the potential for even greater reductions in vehicle emissions in the immediate future.
Toyota's clear lead in hybrid technology has recently been reinforced by an independent study which establishes the company as being the most widely recognised amongst consumers as a manufacturer of hybrid and electric vehicles.
In a joint survey by Automotive Business Intelligence company EurotaxGlass's and UK-based marketing and research institute Harris Interactive, some 30% of those questioned demonstrated an interest in electric or hybrid vehicles, with Toyota standing out in all markets as the company with the highest brand awareness.
When asked to name an electric or hybrid brand, some 15% of survey participants cited Toyota, with only 6% naming the closest rival hybrid manufacturer. Moreover, Toyota's environmental flagship proves to be the single best known electric or hybrid model, with 16% of those questioned being aware of the award-winning Prius, and only 6% naming the closest rival vehicle.
Reinforcing Toyota's belief in the strong potential of the full hybrid technology, the study finds that European consumers are far more open to alternative powertrains than the latter's current market share might suggest.
Pre-empting this conclusion, the recent launch of the Auris HSD marked the start of a significant expansion in the company's full hybrid model range, which will see the launching of some 10 Toyota hybrids by 2015. Toyota aims to offer most of its European models with a Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain derivative as early as possible in the 2020s.
One important facet of this expansion in HSD vehicles, the 2012 Prius will now become the first full hybrid vehicle available as a complete, stand-alone model range — Prius, Prius+ and Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Respective CO2 emissions of 89 g/km, 99 g/km and just 49 g/km1 represent unprecedented environmental credentials from an entire model range.
The three models will significantly expand the Prius customer base and subsequent sales the Prius Plug-in Hybrid appealing to a new group of environmentally conscientious early adopters, the Prius+ targeting growing European families who require the space and flexibility of a larger, seven-seat vehicle.