Toyota reports Prius sales of more than 1 million

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Tkyo (Japan) - Toyota announced that it had sold 1,028,000 units of its Prius model,
making it the most successful hybrid car today. The company noted that
Prius sales are “robust” in more than 40 countries around the world.

The Prius (Latin: “The first”) is recognized as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, launching in back in 1997 in Japan. In the U.S., the Honda Insight, which was produced from 1999 to 2006, was the first mass-produced hybrid to become available in December 1999. The Prius followed in January of 2000.

While the Insight topped the gas-mileage rating of the Prius with a stunning 70 mpg in the city and 66 mpg on the highway, it was never able to match the success of the Toyota. Honda said that only 18,000 units were sold between 1999 and 2006.

The Toyota Prius (48 mpg in the city, 45 mpg on the highway) has become the symbol of the hybrid car era and remains the most affordable hybrid model on sale in the U.S. today. Toyota sells the Prius from $21,500 MSRP (which can go up to more than $28,000 with options). Competitors include the Honda Civic Hybrid (from $22,600), The Saturn Aura Hybrid (from $23,640) and the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (from $23,640).   

There is an active Prius enthusiast community and after-market parts suppliers are already offering upgrades that promise to boost the mpg-rating to 150 mpg (video). Future factory upgrades for the car include an anticipated 2009 plug-in hybrid version.