2013 Honda InsightEnlarge Photo
The Toyota Prius has come a long way since hitting the market over a decade ago.
Back then, at the turn of the 21st century, it was no more than a fuel efficient but ultimately unappealing curio, bought only by a select few.
Fast-track to 2012 and it was one of the world's highest-selling cars, with 389,932 units hitting the streets globally. That's impressive by anyone's standards, but it must have rival Honda wondering exactly how it could have got its Insight so wrong.
The Insight is by no means a bad car, but its 22,440 global sales in 2012 is just one seventeenth the number of Prius sold the same year.
Look into the numbers further, via the Best Selling Cars Blog, and the statistics are even more galling. Insight sales were little over a third that of the Lexus CT 200h, which made over 63,000 units in 2012. Luxury hybrids don't sell anything like that of their more humble counterparts but Toyota must be pleased with the Prius-based CT.
Other versions of the Prius dominated the hybrid sales totals too. The Toyota Prius C (and Aqua, as it's badged internationally) sold 313,437 units in 2012. The Prius V (also known as the Prius A, and Prius+) shifted 184,838 units.
At the other end of the scale, one Toyota product didn't do so well: The Lexus HS 250h.
While the HS slithered off sale in the U.S. in 2012 due to poor sales, it's still on sale elsewhere. It seems the HS isn't overly popular internationally either, with just 5,727 sold last year. Its Toyota cousin, the Sai (not sold in the U.S.) did a little better at 8,543.
Honda's other dedicated hybrid, the Honda CR-Z sports coupe, fared a little better still. 16,123 units is small beans in the greater scheme of things, but not a million miles off the Insight, which in theory should appeal to a much broader audience.
It's worth noting that other hybrids might have sold more units (and some probably fewer), but the models above are all dedicated hybrid models, with no regular gasoline or diesel equivalents.
There's a fair chance that models like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Toyota Yaris Hybrid also rank highly in terms of global sales--while some luxury hybrids like the Porsche Panamera or BMW ActiveHybrid 5 are a little further down.
There aren't many dedicated hybrid models on sale today across the world, but it seems like Toyota has found the formula for how to sell them.