TOYOTA CITY, JAPAN - Toyota Motor Corp. said global cumulative sales of its hybrid vehicles have topped the 3-million mark, with more than 3.03 million units sold worldwide as of Feb. 28. 

In 1997 in Japan, Toyota launched the Coaster Hybrid EV in August and launched the Prius - the world's first mass-produced hybrid vehicle - in December. Sales of the Prius began in North America, Europe and elsewhere in 2000. Next came the second-generation Prius in 2003 and the expanded use of Toyota's hybrid system on such vehicles as minivans, SUVs, rear-wheel-drive sedans and hatchbacks. The third-generation Prius went on sale in May 2009, and the global cumulative sales of Toyota's hybrid vehicles topped 2 million by the end of August the same year. 

This year, Toyota continued to expand its hybrid vehicle lineup, launching the Lexus CT 200h in January. The automaker currently sells 16 hybrid vehicle models in approximately 80 countries and regions around the world, including three commercial vehicle models in Japan. Toyota plans to introduce 10 new-model hybrid vehicles by the end of 2012, including six newly launched vehicles and four vehicles that have been redesigned. 

As of Feb. 28, Toyota calculates that its hybrid vehicles, since 1997, have led to approximately 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions than would have been released by gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance.