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Toyota's hybrid sales zip past 10m mark

Milestone reached 20 years after Prius rollout; last million sold in nine months

Toyota Priuses are made in Mikawa, Aichi Prefecture.

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor's cumulative sales of the Prius and other hybrid vehicles have exceeded 10 million units, the Japanese automaker said on Tuesday.

As of the end of January, Toyota had sold a total of 10,048,500 gas-electric cars since the Prius -- the world's first mass-produced hybrid -- hit the market in 1997. It took the company just nine months to rack up the last 1 million sales.

By region, Toyota said 4.85 million units were sold in Japan, 3.19 million in North America and 1.33 million in Europe.

Annual Prius sales in Japan nearly doubled last year, to 248,000 units, after the model received a major makeover in December 2015.

All told, Toyota sells 33 hybrid models in more than 90 markets worldwide. In China, the company has lured buyers with the Corolla Hybrid and Levin Hybrid -- its first two hybrids made with key parts developed locally.

In Europe, hybrid versions of the RAV4 SUV and the Yaris subcompact -- sold as the Vitz in Japan -- are gaining popularity.

Toyota wants to drive up its annual hybrid sales count to 1.5 million units and bring the cumulative total to 15 million by 2020. In December, the automaker launched the C-HR, a compact SUV built with the same chassis as the Prius. It added the Vitz hybrid to its lineup in January.

(Nikkei)

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