What A Decade It Has Been!
This year, the Toyota Prius celebrates a decade of sales in North America. The Prius remains the best selling hybrid in both the U.S. and around the world. Since its Japanese market introduction back in 1997, drivers have purchased more than 1.8 million of the gas-electric vehicles, with approximately half of those ending up in the United States. The first-generation Prius was an awkward looking four-door sedan that was slow and often didn’t meet up with customer’s fuel economy expectations. It wasn’t until the second-generation model arrived in 2004 with a new tear-drop shaped hatchback body style that the Prius really took off. By 2007, sales topped half a million, with the third-generation model arriving two years later offering even more improved efficiency and better dynamic performance. This year, Toyota has begun to set up a test-fleet of plug-in Priuses with lithium ion batteries with full series production of those versions planed for 2012.