The world’s first mass-produced hybrid minivan, the Estima Hybrid from Toyota Motor Corp., went on sale Friday.

The company said the new four-wheel-drive minivan, equipped with an electric motor connected to a conventional gas engine, will provide customers with driving stability, fuel economy and environmental compatibility.

The standard eight-seater Estima Hybrid is priced at 3.35 million yen, while the eight-seater Estima Hybrid G Selection, which comes with options, sells for 3.6 million yen.

Toyota President Fujio Cho told a news conference that the company is considering selling the new Estima Hybrid in the United States.

“Selling it overseas is a future option. I have the U.S. market in mind,” Cho said.

The Prius is slowly gaining popularity in the U.S., where consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious.

The new model is Toyota’s second hybrid vehicle, following the launch of its Prius sedan in December 1997. The Prius is the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car.

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