When I started this job, talking about Toyota hybrids was considered more boring than... a Prius. But now, everybody wants a hybrid, and they want to hear that other people feel the same way.
Over two decades ago, Japan was first to adopt the idea of using both gasoline and electricity, followed a few years after by California. But there are plenty of European countries where Toyota is very popular.
Year after year, the Auris Hybrid ad Prius have been reporting increases in demand. However, 2016 was the best yet and the seventh consecutive one of growth, with sales hitting a new record of 295,000 units.
That's a massive 41% higher than in 2014. Sure, the company has new models, like the RAV4 Hybrid, but I think the all-new Prius has the biggest impact. If all the green Toyotas were bunched up as one car, they would be the fifth best selling one in Europe, right after the Ford Fiesta.
We know the fuel savings do happen in the real world; that's why people are buying them. So just think of all the gas almost a third of a million Fiestas would save if they were a hybrid.
Toyota’s sales amounted to 249,900 units, up 49% from the previous year. Lexus held up with an increase of 10% at 44,900 units. That's pretty good for a brand mainly aimed at the Americans.
On a model by model basis, the Auris grew by 9.3 to 85,800 cars, thanks to the introduction of the Touring sports wagon version, which isn't sold in Japan. Meanwhile, the little Yaris, know in Japan as the Vitz, surpassed 86,500 units, a 19.8% boost in sales.
On the Lexus side of things, the NX 300h was the most popular hybrid with 17,991 units. The RX 450h sold 9,111 units, while the CT200h sales were 8,412, which is down 17.8% and marks the second consecutive yearly decline. The IS300h managed 5,856, which is also down 24.4%.
It's worth pointing out that Lexus' total European customers in 2016 amounted to 74,000. So hybrids represent about half their deliveries.
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