Toyota said Thursday total global sales of its Prius hybrid topped the two million mark by the end of September. Since its launch in 1997, the petrol-electric car had shifted about 2,012,000 units, the company said.
Toyota began selling the car in Europe, North America and other markets in 2000 before releasing updated models in 2003 and 2009. Sales of hybrids have been brisk in recent years because of rising petrol prices and increasing public awareness of global warming.
The Prius has steadily grown popular worldwide, selling 285,700 units in 2008 and 404,200 in 2009. It has already sold 401,300 units in the first nine months this year, the company said. Its popularity has continued despite Toyota last year recalling 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles to repair a flaw in the braking system, as part of around 10 million recalls worldwide.
However, Toyota and other Japanese automakers are braced for a domestic sales fall as government incentives to buy eco-friendly cars, introduced to boost the sector during the global downturn, have expired.