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Japanese carmaker Toyota has achieved what it set out to do – take hybrid cars into the mass market.

In the first quarter of 2012 the hybrid car was the third highest-selling vehicleon the US market – shifting 247,230 in the three-month period, Bloomberg reported.

The Prius may have started life with a lukewarm party and poor sales figures, but increasing popularity in the US heightened by cost incentives in Japan has helped it become a major hit.

Sales of the vehicles have risen by over 100 per cent, with government tax rebates and breaks in Japan having the desired effect of stimulating sales, as buyers can now save around $2,500 on each car.

Eric Noble, president of the Californian vehicle consultancy Car Lab, told the news provider: "It proves Prius wasn't a fluke, that there's a long-term market for hybrids."

Indeed, the Prius was only behind Toyota's own Corolla which took first place (300,800 sold) and Ford's Focus which sold 277,000.

Earlier this week, the Japanese company's US arm announced that it has surpassed the one million fan mark on Facebook.

Toyota Prius hits top 3 in sales charts - News Network - Inside Japan
 
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