More than one fifth of new passenger cars sold in Japan are hybrids. For the second month in a row, hybrid sales exceeded the 20 percent mark, data released by the Japan Automobile Dealer Association (see table) show. Two companies profit most from this new hybrid boom.
At Honda, sales were up 38 percent for the Fit and 89 percent for the Freed. Hybrid versions are said to be 60 percent of Fit sales and more than 40 percent of Freed sales.
Hybrids are especially important for Toyota, where they now amount to nearly half of Toyota’s sales in Japan, says The Nikkei [sub]. For the ninth month running, the Prius is the best-selling car in Japan. February sales of the Prius rose nearly 88 percent compared to February 2011. Its smaller brother, the Aqua compact hybrid (sold in the U.S. as Prius C,) is number three on the list with 21,951 units sold. Toyota had originally planned for 12,000 Aqua/Prius C a month, and is unable to keep up with the demand. A customer who places an order now will get it around August this year.
Tomorrow, I will be at Toyota’s Iwate plant, in Japan’s tsunami-ravaged North. Here, they make the Aqua / Prius C. I will try to check what the holdup is. Expect the report on Saturday.
Japan, February 2012