TOKYO -- Booming North American demand pushed cumulative sales of hybrid vehicles at Toyota Motor Corp. past the 2 million-unit mark last month as the Japanese automaker marched closer to its goal of selling 1 million gasoline-electric cars per year.
As of Aug. 9, Toyota sold 2.017 million hybrids worldwide since their debut in 1997. North Americans snapped up nearly 1.15 million of those hybrids, more than half the global total, the company said on Thursday. Japan soaked up another 615,800.
The Toyota Prius was the undisputed sales superstar, notching 1.429 million in sales since its introduction in December 1997. It reigns as the world’s best-selling hybrid.
But Toyota actually tracks its hybrid origins to August 1997, when its first production hybrid, a 24-passenger bus named the Coaster, went on sale in Japan.
Toyota reached the 2 million milestone as it targets selling 1 million hybrids a year as early as possible in the 2010s. The company came a little closer to the goal with this year’s launch of the popular third-generation Prius. Toyota expects that car alone to sell 600,000 units in its first full year on the market.
Contributing to Toyota’s global tally are hybrid versions of the Estima minivan, Crown sedan, Harrier SUV, Camry sedan and Lexus GS, LS and HS. The Camry Hybrid booked the second-highest sales total with 107,600 units sold since its debut in May 2006.
Today, Toyota sells 13 hybrid vehicle models in about 50 countries.
Toyota is banking on hybrid drivetrains as its medium-term green car technology. It plans to introduce hybrid models in each of its vehicle series as early as possible in the 2020s.