Toyota’s Magic Hybrid Number Comes With a Warning

Toyota Prius

The good news is that Toyota‘s (NYSE:TM) global hybrid sales broke the 1 million unit ceiling again during 2013. The not-so-good news — though not wholly unexpected, either — is that Toyota’s hybrid division growth is slowing. Toyota sold 1.279 million vehicles in 2013, the company said, versus the 1.219 million that it moved in 2012, which was the first year that Toyota sold more than 1 million in a 12-month time frame.

Toyota’s total hybrid sales count was pushed past 6 million units since 1997, the year the first Prius was launched. The company has sold 6.073 million hybrids since then, with more than half – 3.167 million vehicles — wearing the Prius badge.

With the exception of 2008 — which proved to be a trying year for just about everyone, as Toyota was coping with a tsunami at home and an economic drought abroad — the 60,000-car growth last year is the slowest increment since 2004Automotive News reports that the slowing was due to “tepid” growth in Japan following an unusually high spike in 2012, a year that saw a doubling of Toyota’s hybrid sales.

Toyota

Fortunately, Toyota made up some ground in the United States, as hybrid sales rose by 13,600 units, or 4 percent, to 358,100.

“We aimed to maintain sales of 1 million units through the introduction of new hybrid models,” Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett said in the company’s release.

Toyota, which sells 24 different hybrid models and one plug-in hybrid across 80 countries worldwide, has a number of new models waiting in the wings to help maintain demand for its vehicles amid growing competition from a number of competing manufacturers.

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