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 |  Jan 20 2012, 10:00 AM

It’s amazing to think that it’s been 12 years since Honda introduced its first hybrid vehicle – the first generation Insight – to the world. Back in November 1999, the Insight was a peculiar hybrid but still boasted the world’s highest fuel economy among all gasoline-powered vehicles.

And despite Toyota clearly surpassing Honda in hybrid development (and sales), the Japanese automaker is still proud to announce that it has surpassed 800,000 hybrid vehicle sales worldwide.

Currently, Honda sells seven hybrid models in approximately 50 different countries around the world. The Acura ILX, which will launch in the North American market in spring 2012, will bring that total to eight.

Honda’s hybrid sales have increased steadily over the last couple of years. In 2005, with just the Civic Hybrid, Accord Hybrid and first-generation Insight on the market, Honda hit 100,000 units. May 2007 saw the achievement of 200,000 units, but it wasn’t until August of 2009, when the second-generation Insight came to the market, that Honda topped the 400,000 mark. In 2010, Honda introduced the CR-Z and the Fit Hybrid and by the end of the year has surpassed the 600,000 unit landmark. A year later in December of 2011, Honda was happy to have surpassed 800,000 hybrid vehicles total.

While Honda continues to be one of the biggest names in hybrid technology and sales, it’s well off the pace of Toyota which to date has sold well over three million gas-electric vehicles.