The Japanese automaker Toyota (NYSE:TM) kick started the year on a good note and it looks like 2014 is going to be a good year for the auto player. After regaining its position as the lead global automaker in 2012, Toyota achieved another milestone when its hybrid vehicles sales crossed the 6 million mark as on December 31, 2013 since it first launched its hybrid in 1997. Out of the total figure, 3.2 million sales were that of Prius and 2.3 million were Toyota and Lexus hybrids. If we add up the number of Prius C and Prius V hatchbacks, then the number for Prius would go up to 4.2 million units sold worldwide.
The hybrid and electric cars are still in its developing stage, and the market is yet to grow to support mass production of such vehicles. However, this space provides huge potential for growth in the future.
Eco friendly vehicles will become more and more essential with the passage of time, given the increasing concern over the rising pollution. This would have a positive impact on the demand of hybrids. Toyota has been spending and putting in great effort to expand its hybrid plug in production in anticipation of future demand for eco-friendly cars.
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It is finally getting paid for the tremendous amount of hard work that it has been putting in for years. If we look at the stats, we see that just 3 million Toyota hybrids were sold between 1997 and 2011. But in the recent years, the number just doubled dramatically and ran over 6 million units in a span of less than two years.
So what is in the pipeline?
Presently, the Japanese automaker sells 24 hybrid models and one plug in hybrid model in 80 nations across the globe. The company has huge plans of widening its hybrid offerings and therefore proposes to launch 15 fresh hybrid models worldwide over the next two years.
The top Asian carmaker boasts that as of December 31, 2013, its hybrid vehicles prevented the emission of 41 million tons of carbon, which would otherwise have been emitted by the same number of gasoline powered cars as the number of Toyota hybrids on the road. Its hybrid vehicles also saved the consumption of as much as 15 million kilolitres of gasoline.
The company has heavily spent on hybrid technology for years and is continuing to do so. Toyota launched the series-production of hybrid and electric vehicles long back in 1997 when it released the Coaster Hybrid EV, and launched the Prius in the same year in December. The Japanese maker has been quite lucky to have received solid support for its hybrids from its customers ever since.
The giant auto major has ambitious plans and is spending as much as $8 billion for the current fiscal year ending March in developing environment friendly technology. Toyota expects to sell 5 million hybrids in the US by the middle of this decade. The carmaker is confident that it will comfortably achieve its goal given its new set of hybrid lineups that are yet to hit the showrooms. It would be interesting to see how the Prius maker fairs in this space with its new lineup along with the challenges that threat this segment of the auto industry.