With all the stir caused this week by GM and Nissan over their electric Volt and Leaf cars, it is interesting to note that a quiet milestone occurred which Toyota wants to remind everyone about: the 10th anniversary of the Prius. The undisputed king of the green car market in North America has indeed come a long way from the squat looking hybrid which debuted in July of 2000. Over 1.8 million vehicles have been sold in the world to date, with nearly 900,000 in the U.S. alone.
It is fitting therefore to publish this narrative from Toyota about celebrating 10 years of Prius in its entirety. Will the Prius remain king over the next 10 years? It depends upon how Toyota responds to new challengers on the green car front, but the Japanese automaker has a hot brand name and a decade of experience to help it perhaps keep the top position.
Ten years ago Toyota launched a new kind of car in North America. It was the Prius, an affordable car with a hybrid gas/electric powertrain. In the decade that followed, the Prius made an indelible mark on the automotive industry. The car with the signature wedge shape proved to be an agent of change, and a catalyst for innovative ideas. Over 1.8 million units have been sold in the world to date, with nearly 900,000 in the U.S. alone.
“Toyota recognized in the 1990s that sustainable transportation would become a huge challenge in the coming decades,” said Jim Lentz, president and COO of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. “Those realizations proved accurate, and if anything, even more profound considering what we know today.”
It’s hard to say what would have happened, had there been no Prius in the U.S., but in the 10 years since the car has been available, significant benefits have accrued. Nearly 900,000 people who chose to drive a Toyota Prius versus the average car have prevented an estimated nine million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, conserved approximately 650 million gallons of gas, and saved an estimated 1.5 billion of their hard-earned dollars.