Toyota Motor Corp (TMC), the main promoter of hybrid cars, announced yesterday that cumulative global sales of its hybrid vehicles topped the five million unit mark as of March 31, 2013, reaching 5.125 million units.

Last year, hybrids accounted for 14% of Toyota’s global vehicle sales and 40% of all its sales in Japan. As of this month, TMC sells 19 hybrid passenger car models and one plug-in hybrid model in approximately 80 countries around the world. Between now and December 2015, TMC will launch a total of 18 new hybrids worldwide, besides increasing the number of markets where it sells hybrid vehicles.

TMC calculates that as of March 31, TMC’s hybrids have resulted in approximately 34 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions than would have been emitted by gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance. The company also estimates that its hybrid vehicles have saved approximately 12 million kiloliters of gasoline compared to gasoline-powered vehicles of a similar size.

hybrid synergy drive

“We developed the first-generation Prius with the aim of making it a car for the 21st century and as an indication of Toyota’s response to environmental issues. We had to develop a hybrid system from scratch, making our task extremely difficult. Nevertheless, we took on the challenge,” said TMC vice chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, who was responsible for development of the original Prius.

“The launch of the first-gen Prius had effects beyond our expectations, with the vehicle increasing consumer environmental awareness and raising hybrid vehicle expectations. The understanding of consumers at launch time laid the foundation for the widespread adoption, and, since then, consumers have continued to support Toyota hybrid vehicles. For this, I am extremely grateful,” he added.

In Malaysia, UMW Toyota Motor sells the Prius and its compact Prius c sibling.