Toyota Prius is a complete hybrid electric mid-sized hatchback designed and developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation. It was previously known as a compact sedan. The Prius is rated as the cleanest car marketed in United States depending on smog fog and toxic emissions by EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB).
In 1997, the Prius was introduced in Japan as the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Later in 2001, the Prius was introduced worldwide with a view to expand its market. Except for Japan and North America, being the largest markets for Prius, it has been offered in 70 countries and regions worldwide. The global increasing sales of the Prius set the milestone of 1 million units in May 2008. Later in September 2010, the worldwide collective sales of Prius reached the milestone of 2 million units. The largest market for Prius is United States where million units of Prius sold by early April 2011.
Since the appearance of Prius in 1997, it has already been in its third generation. The first generation Prius (XW10) remained in production from 1997 to 2003. The first generation Prius was followed by a completely redesigned second generation Prius (XW20) as a mid-sized liftback that sized between Corolla and Camry. Also, it was offered with some re-modified mechanicals and interior details. It remained in production from 2003 to 2009. The third generation Prius (XW30) was launched at the North American International Auto Show in 2009 as 2010 model year. Currently, the third generation of Prius is offering in the market.
The term “Prius” is taken from the Latin for “to go before”. Toyota explains its selection as, “the car is given the name Prius because it was introduced just before time when environmental awareness became a general social issue.”
The company conducted a survey regarding choosing the most appropriate plural form of the term Prius, given the choices Prien, Prii, Prium, Prius or Priuses to choose from, in February 2011. According to the company, “it will use the most popular choice in its advertising.” On February 20, 2011, the company declared the “Prii” as the most popular choice of the people and eventually designated as an official plural for Prius.
As we have mentioned earlier that Prius is offered in more than 70 countries and regions worldwide, with largest selling markets in United States, Japan and Europe. The cumulative worldwide sales for Prius exceeded 1 million mark in may 2008 followed by the cumulative sales of 2 million units of Prius two years later in September 2010.
For 2008, the cumulative sales of Prius in Europe remained 100,000 units which were reached to 200,000 units by 2010. In entire Europe, U.K. is regarded as the major Prius market that makes up for over 20% of overall sales in Europe. In Japan, the Prius was ranked the Japan’s best-selling car for the year 2009 outrunning the previous Honda Fit.
The rising prices of oil in the recent few years resulted in the increased demand of Prius all over the world. However, the production of Prius is disturbed by a great deal due to the recent natural calamity of Japan.