Toyota announced Thursday that worldwide sales of the Toyota Prius—the world’s first mass-produced gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle—have passed the 1 million mark. The company estimates that Prius vehicles through April 2008 have contributed to a reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 4.5 million tons, when compared with traditional gas-powered vehicles in the same class and of similar size and driving performance.
The Prius was launched in Japan in 1997 and began selling in Europe, North America and other markets in 2000. Since then, approximately 1,028,000 units were sold as of the end of April this year.
In 2003, the second-generation Prius, equipped with the Toyota Hybrid System II, was introduced with improved environmental performance and power. The Prius is also one of the first vehicles to meet the new 2015 Japanese fuel efficiency standards set out under the Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy.
Currently, Prius sales are robust in more than 40 countries and regions, particularly in Japan and North America. Sales of Prius vehicles in South Korea are expected to begin in the latter half of 2009.