Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that worldwide sales of the Prius hybrid have topped the half-million mark, with 504,700 vehicles sold by the end of April.

The world’s first mass-produced hybrid car debuted in 1997 in Japan and hit overseas markets in 2000.

A more advanced version of the Prius was marketed in 2003.

While sales have been good in Japan, the car sold particularly well in North America, according to the automaker.

The Prius is now built abroad as well, and production for China began in Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, in December.

Cumulative worldwide sales of all Toyota hybrids, including the Lexus, exceeded 600,000 as of the end of March.

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