Toyota has announced that it has sold more than 15 million hybrids around the world since launching the models 23 years ago.

The Japanese brand was the world’s first mass-market hybrid car producer when it launched the Prius back in 1997. At the time, no other manufacturer had combined a petrol motor with an electric battery to reduce emissions and assist economy.

It proved extremely popular, not only with motorists who wanted to help the environment, but it also struck a chord with Hollywood A-list celebrities too.

Toyota’s hybrid technology has proved so popular that it is now available in a choice of nine models, including the British built Corolla, Corolla Touring Sports and Saloon, as well as the Prius, Yaris, Camry and RAV4. Toyota has announced it doesn’t plan to stop there with more models featuring the same technology on the way.

The hybrid technology is now common among rival manufacturers who are applying it in models from small city runabouts to luxury SUVs with varying degrees of success.

The figures also revealed that, while Europe only accounts for around three million of those sales, the UK is one of the strongest hybrid markets for the brand, with more than 350,000 sold here to date. Hybrid sales now account for around two-thirds of the company’s new passenger vehicle sales in the UK.

The company has also calculated that it has saved over 120 million tonnes of CO2 from those cars, compared to equivalent petrol vehicles.