Years, ago, when the Toyota Prius debuted in Japan in 1997 nobody knew about it or really cared about its qualities. Indeed, it took a little while to catch on. But catch on it did. By 2003, the Prius was becoming generally recognized for what it was… a car of the future.
At first, the critics insisted that the American consumer would never buy a fuel-efficient vehicle powered only by a small 1.5 litre gasoline engine. In 2000, Toyota started exporting the Prius to North America and Europesold 6,500 in the first year itself!
Toyota had faith in the potential of the Prius and within a few years, the situation started to turn in favour of the Prius. It started in Hollywood, California. The government of California had decided that low emissions vehicles would get preferential treatment. As a result, the drivers in priority lanes were restricted to vehicles with two or more persons; however, the Prius could enter the lane with just one person in it. This was due to the low emissions from a Prius.
When people started to whizz by in a Prius through traffic jams, everybody started to notice and the demand for the Prius started to escalate. Soon, the Toyota Prius became a very popular car in California.
All of a sudden, the Prius was in the spotlight & became an icon. At the 2003 Academy Awards ceremony, Hollywood celebrities rode up to the red carpet in the Prius…!
The same year, the second generation Prius debuted. It had a renewed hybrid system called the Hybrid Synergy Drive, which not only conferred greater benefits to the environment, but also featured improved power and overall performance. This new Prius was also more stylish, inside and out. People began saying that the “The Prius is not only ‘Cool’ … but also ‘Hot’ “
In 2008, global sales of the Prius soared to 1 million units.However, Toyota, in a spirit of Kaizen or continuous improvement introduced a third generation Prius a year later. As the company likes to say, “Proof is in the Prius”—sales doubled, exceeding 2 million units in 2010.
Now, the fourth generation Prius that has debuted this year will be introduced in more than 30 countries worldwide includingthe Middle East. The popularity of the Prius is now spreading to all corners of the globe and it has become a truly iconic “Green Car”.