The Toyota Prius has been voted 2005 Car of the Year by the 58 members of the European Car of the Year Jury. After two rounds of voting, the car was chosen from a list of seven finalists and declared clear winner after gathering 406 points.

Tadashi Arashima, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Marketing Europe said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the 2005 Car of the Year award for Prius. We believe that hybrid technology, in particular as implemented in the Prius with our revolutionary Hybrid Synergy Drive(r) system, represents a big step forward in reducing the environmental impact of automobiles, while at the same time enhancing driving performance. We are proud and honoured that Prius has been endorsed so strongly by the prestigious group of journalists who make up the Car of the Year jury. This is a major milestone in the acceptance of the hybrid powertrain and the recognition of its potential to become a mainstream technology. It is also a great encouragement to us in our work on developing more environmentally friendly vehicles.”

Prius, the world’s first mass produced hybrid vehicle, is propelled by the combination of an electric motor and a petrol engine. This unique system, called Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive(r), will spearhead the development of new environmentally friendly powertrains and is part of Toyota’s effort to create the ultimate eco car.

Following its introduction in early 2004, Prius sales in Europe are expected to reach 8,500 units this year. Next year, the sales target has been set at 15,000 units for Europe, whilst an increase in production capacity will allow 180,000 cars to be sold worldwide.

Prius has been in strong demand in the UK with sales reaching almost 1400 units this year.