Toyota's Prius breaks 20-year sales record in Japan

08:23, January 12, 2011      

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Toyota Motor Corp. sold 315,669 units of its Prius hybrid cars in Japan in 2010, making the Prius the top-selling vehicle in Japan last year, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA) said Tuesday.

And the figure earned Toyota a new national record, unbroken for 20 years, for annual sales of a single model.

The previous record was also held by Toyota for their Corolla sedan, which logged sales of 300,008 units, according to the industry body.

Sales of Toyota vehicles rose 51.1 percent from 2009, with government subsidies and tax breaks for fuel-efficient vehicles contributing to the rapid rise in sales, according to the association.

The first-generation Prius gas-electric hybrid became commercially available in 1997 and was an instant hit, as fuel prices were rising and the public became increasingly conscious about the effects of carbon emissions from regular gasoline and diesel combustion engines.

The latest Prius models utilize Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) technology and unlike other hybrids, the Prius can perform solely on the electric motor.

Toyota's Prius also combines an electric drive and a planetary gear set which performs similarly to a continuously variable transmission.

The Prius' overall Synergy Drive system is a drive-by-wire system with no direct mechanical connection between the engine and the engine controls. Both the gas pedal and accelerator, as well as the gearshift lever in an HSD car merely send electrical signals to a central control computer.

According to Toyota, by the end of November last year and in spite of a number of safety issues involving sticking accelerator pedals and floor mats that led to a series of global recalls, more than two million of the iconic hybrid vehicles have been sold worldwide.

Source: Xinhua
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