Toyota and Lexus at the heart of hybrid’s rising fortunes

TOYOTA and Lexus hybrid models account for more than 75% of UK hybrids taking to the roads over the past five years, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).


From 2007 up to the end of the first quarter of this year, almost 100,000 hybrid vehicles have been sold in theUK. Of that number, 77,000 wereToyotaor Lexus cars. In terms of hybrid’s market share, the figures have almost doubled, from 0.7% to 1.3% so far in 2012.


This year should see further impetus for even more drivers to make the switch, with four new hybrids being introduced byToyotaand Lexus, says the brands.


Toyotais bringing hybrid technology deeper into the core of its product range with the introduction of Yaris Hybrid this summer. At other end of the size scale, the summer will also mark the debut of Prius+, the first seven-seat full hybrid inEurope.


The development of Prius – the ‘original’Toyotahybrid – into a self-contained family of models will further bring the introduction of Prius Plug-in,Toyota’s first commercial hybrid with a battery that can be recharged from an external power source.


Meanwhile, hybrid’s role in the luxury market will be reinforced by the introduction of the new Lexus GS executive sports saloon.


Jon Williams,Toyota president and managing director, said : ‘The SMMT data show how the momentum for hybrid is increasing. Motorists appreciate its environmental performance, its reliability and ease of use, plus the smooth and refined driving quality.


‘Toyota’s leadership in hybrid technology is not just about the models we have launched and the new vehicles we are bringing to market this year. It also serves as a proven, flexible technology platform for creating different power trains – all-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles – with which we will be able to develop and deliver sustainable transport with minimum environmental impact.’


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