Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Hybrid cars are now part of the mainstream car market, Toyota claims. 

The manufacturer sold more than 10,000 hybrid vehicles in 2012, while luxury offshoot Lexus sold 2300 hybrids - roughly a third of its total sales. 

And the maker expects the number to grow in 2013, with hybrid sales picking up notably in the second half of 2012 following the launch of two new Prius spin-offs - the Prius V seven-seater wagon, and the Prius C five-door city hatch.

In December, Toyota’s petrol-electric hybrid Camry outsold the Ford Falcon, while overall Toyota sold more than 1600 hybrids. 

The company’s sales and marketing boss, Matt Callachor, says the technology has been embraced by buyers worldwide.

‘‘Cumulative global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids are now approaching five million – a figure that confirms they have entered the mainstream,’’ he said.

While fleet buyers are choosing hybrids due to lower fuel use, private buyers are also snapping up their share of the petrol-electric models. In 2012, private sales of hybrid passenger cars jumped by 160 per cent, while fleet sales rose by 24.8 per cent. 

Callachor said dealers had reported that some customers were shopping the hybrid Camry against small cars, with others trading in city runabouts.

In the United States this year Toyota sold 236,659 Priuses thanks to the new model derivatives. The car is now in the top ten selling cars in the US.