The Toyota Prius has jumped into the top three best-selling cars list in 2012, thanks to first quarter demand from the US and Japan.
According to Automotive News, sales of the hybrid Prius — once seen as very much a niche vehicle — have more than doubled in the first three months of 2012.
In the first quarter of the year, sales of the Prius climbed to 247 230, behind only Toyota's Corolla (300 800) and Ford's Focus (277 000).
"It proves the Prius wasn't a fluke, that there's a long-term market for hybrids," Eric Noble, president of the Car Lab, an automotive consultancy in California, told Automotive News.
Toyota ranked as the world's largest carmaker from 2008 to 2010, before natural disasters and a spate of recalls saw it lose top spot.