Hybrid sales hit one million mark

Sales of Toyota's hybrid car have fallen in the US, despite Americans having snapped up one million of the vehicles.

The Japanese company said it took seven years for the firm to sell its first 500,000 to reluctant consumers in the US. A recent focus on green technology and climate change saw the next half a million sell in just two years.

But the world's biggest car maker has been increasingly affected by the slowdown in the global economy. In February, it reported a slide in sales of 39.8% compared to the same time in 2008. And workers at its UK sights have faced a cut in production and pay as demand for new cars wanes.

The one-million milestone sales of hybrid cars could have been due to an escalation in petrol prices last year. But sales numbers in February matched the gloomy figures seen by other car makers, falling 33.6 % on year. This may be, in part, due to a return to stable fuel prices in the US.

Toyota's rival Honda is expected to counter the introduction of a third-generation Prius later this year by unveiling its new Insight hybrid.

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