2013 Toyota Prius liftbackEnlarge Photo
It almost goes without saying, but Toyota loves its hybrids--and, seemingly, so do the world's car buyers.
The Japanese automaker said it had sold 6,072,000 hybrids as of December 31, 2013, breaking the 6 million-unit barrier.
A particularly strong 2013 helped push Toyota over the top, with global hybrid sales of 1,279,000 units, compared to 1,219,000 for 2012.
Toyota sold approximately 358,000 hybrids in North America last year, compared to 344,000 the year before. It's sold a total of 2,302,000 hybrids in North America since the first-generation Prius was launched here in 2000.
2000 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
The company currently sells two dozen hybrid models--as well as the Prius Plug-in Hybrid--using its Hybrid Synergy Drive system, in approximately 80 countries worldwide. That includes 12 models sold in the U.S. today, under both the Toyota and Lexus brands.
Since the launch of the first-generation Prius in Japan in 1997, Toyota says its hybrids have resulted in roughly 41 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions, and have saved over 3.9 billion gallons of gasoline.
While Toyota plans to unveil a production hydrogen-fuel cell car in 2015, it continues to emphasize hybrids.
Back in October, Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada--known as the "Father of the Prius"--said hybrids are more important to the company than electric cars. He called on the industry to sell 5 million hybrids in the U.S. by the end of 2016.
Toyota will keep its own hybrids coming, too.
The company plans to launch 15 new hybrids worldwide over the next two years, beginning with the 2015 Harrier Hybrid crossover in Japan and the mechanically-similar 2015 Highlander Hybrid in the United States.
A completely-redesigned Prius is also expected soon, which may achieve as much as 55 mpg. A plug-in version of the fourth-generation Prius is expected to offer at least 10 miles of electric-only range.