Back in 1995, when we had no iPhones, no iPads, no social media – basically, nothing with the “i” tag on it, Toyota was working hard on their first Prius concept, and they were having difficulties even with making the car move, let alone conquering the world. Two years later, in 1997, the fresh-out-of-the-oven Toyota hybrids finally entered the market, but couldn’t really boast high sale values.
A Long Way Coming
Today, 18 years later, having sold 8 million Toyota hybrids around the globe, the company has expanded the line-up from that very first unheard-of Prius to 30+ hybrid models, and is currently dominating the market with exceptional sales. See what pros and cons are there in having a Toyota hybrid.
It took the company as little as 10 months to go from 7 million sales to 8! Yep, that’s how good the hybrids are doing right now, and it’s a result of hard work, amazing engineering developments and, of course, a little bit of help from that stubborn lady luck. But considering the new Toyota Hybrid fuel economy it’s not surprising.
The Rough Start
Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada loves telling the story of how his team of engineers couldn’t make the very first Prius concept to move for forty-nine days. Takeshi-san remembers that they didn’t have even the slightest idea about what was wrong, and so, they used to stay up late trying to solve the mystery. After sleepless nights and shaken nerves, they finally made the Prius move – right around Christmas! However, it stopped after conquering a distance of 500 meters! Back then, the hybrids had a very unstable future, because countless manufacturers failed in their attempts to make them work. 20 years later, hybrids are the hottest thing on the market.
Toyota Hybrids: Breaking The Record
In 1997 Toyota Motors sold about 300 Prius units around the world; the average price-tag on a gallon of gas in the United States back then was 1.25 dollars. In 1998 the sales skyrocketed to almost 18 thousand units, and that number has been rising almost every year since. Toyota yearly sales of hybrid vehicles have topped the 1.2 million units mark. According to the company’s official statement, the 18 years of driving means roughly 58mil fewer tons of that CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and about 22mil kilometers of gas saved. And they expect the ever-growing trend to continue rising.
The Bright Future
Pretty great, right? Well, you know Toyota – never fails to impress!
I predict a very bright future for the new Toyota hybrids and the Prius – they certainly do deserve it. And hey, make sure to check out my posts on the 2015 Prius and 2016 Toyota Prius, as well as the “The Ultimate Hybrid – Toyota Prius History” series – I promise, you won’t get bored :). By the way, don’t be shy to write down your take on the matter in the comments section below – I read all of them!