LONDON, England - On October 19 2000, the first day of that year's British International Motor Show, Toyota launched UK sales of its first-generation Prius: today, 14 years later, the brand is celebrating 100 000 hybrids sold there.A fleet customer will take delivery of the 100 000th UK hybrid, Toyota says, "reflecting the advantages of low company car tax rates and running costs and high reliability that are all part of the Toyota hybrid ownership experience".The Prius was introduced to the South African market and went on general sale during the first quarter of 2004. Today, average sales are a mere two a month.ACCEPTED TECHNOLOGYToyota sees that number as confirmation that its clean, efficient and smooth powertrain technology is now an accepted and popular part of the mainstream motoring market.Significantly, the car that clocked up the first 100 000 happens to be British-built, an Auris Hybrid Touring Sports in top-of-the-range Excel trim, produced by Toyota Manufacturing UK at its plant in Burnaston, central England.Its hybrid system includes a 1.8 VVT-i petrol engine manufactured by TMUK in North Wales.Hybrid, Toyota says, is at the heart of the brand's investment in UK manufacturing with Auris and Auris Touring Sports models built there for export worldwide."The original Toyota hybrid customers," the Japanese automaker recalls, "were true pioneers, adopting an advanced technology that promised low carbon emissions and, for its time, exceptional official fuel economy of 4.6 litres/100km. Only one version of the quirkily styled four-door sedan was on offer back then.Sales were through a network of 60 Toyota Hybrid Technology Centres across Britain which were also responsible for servicing, repairs and recycling. To help reassure the early adopters, Toyota provided a five-year warranty and the option of a peace-of-mind lease.LEXUS CLOSEToday there are six Toyota hybrids from compact superminis and family hatchbacks to seven-seat MPV's, among them the Yaris, Auris and Prius (those not available in South Africa include the Auris Touring and Prius Plus). Expansion of the range has gone hand-in-hand with accelerating sales; global sales of Toyota group hybrids are nearing seven-million, with Prius now among the world’s most popular cars.British sales of hybrid Auris units are set to overtake those of petrol and diesel versions combined and the Yaris Hybrid is taking an increasingly large share of overall sales of the supermini.Toyota units are just part of the hybrid picture: sister brand Lexus has progressively brought the benefits of hybrid power and sophistication to the luxury-car market and is closing fast on 50 000 UK sales, achieved since the debut there of the RX 400h in 2005.Lexus hybrid sales in South Africa, however, see an average of three Lexus CT 200h, nine Lexus ES 300h and four Lexus RX 450h units. Toyota South Africa has explained why local hybrid figures are so low.Read their response here.