Vehicle manufacturer Toyota has announced the delivery of its 400,000th hybrid vehicle in Europe, marking the milestone with a ceremony in Belgium this month.
Valentine Nkwocha, a company car driver for Belgian IT firm CTG, was the recipient of the 400,000th vehicle, and he received the keys to the vehicle on January 26th.
Deputy managing director of Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK Tony Walker commented that it is a positive announcement for the UK car manufacturing sector, as all of the company's hybrid vehicles have been manufactured at the firm's Burnaston plant since 2010.
He added that this milestone will hopefully result in the delivery of greater levels of investment in the hybrid industry in general given the compelling demand for these vehicles which has been demonstrated, while the construction of the firm's next-generation hybrid motors should help to further compel buyers to invest in hybrid vehicles.
Michel Gardel, vice president of communication, external and environmental affairs at Toyota Motor Europe, noted: "We are very proud to deliver our 400,000th hybrid in Europe.
"It shows that European customers are not only ready to consider a hybrid vehicle purchase but for Toyota, they have been doing so in large numbers - in fact ten per cent of our sales in Europe were hybrid vehicles last year."
The Toyota Prius was the original hybrid vehicle to be launched in Europe and the model is now in its third generation.
It combined excellent fuel efficiency with improved performance over all hybrids that had come before, capable of achieving a top speed of 111.8 mph. What was truly groundbreaking about the car was its environmental performance, emitting just 89g/km of CO2 and offering economy of up to 72.43 mpg.
This is achieved by combining a lightweight 1.8-litre diesel engine with a battery pack for low-speed manoeuvring.
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