The Toyota Corolla Reigns in Japan. For Now…

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
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the toyota corolla reigns in japan for now

Japanese motor vehicle sales fell 7.6 percent in 2007; Toyota was down 6.2 percent. Still, Bloomberg reports that the Toyota Corolla managed to retain its five-year standing as Japan's best-selling passenger car (excluding minicars). Corolla sales increased by 2.7 percent last year, almost 150K units found new homes. The Toyota Schvitz… er… Vitz (a.k.a. Yaris) was Japan's second-best-selling car, clocking over 121k sales (up 3.2 percent). Toyota better be careful, though– Honda's having a Fit to unseat them. The redesigned Fit went on sale in October and became Japan's best-seller in December (again, excluding minicars). The fit outran the Corolla by a margin of almost two to one. That's a 144.1 percent increase over December 2006. The Fit's annual sales rose by 14.5 percent, scooping third in overall sales. If you don't exclude minicars, Suzuki reigned supreme in 2007. The brand sold over 225k Wagon R kei cars. Now if they'd just pop a Hayabusa engine into a few of them and send them our way…

Frank Williams
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4 of 9 comments
  • BabyM BabyM on Jan 10, 2008

    "Minicars" (Kei) in Japan are a separate legal category of vehicle. They have to be below a maximum size, have engines below a certain displacement, wear different license plates, and are exempt from certain ownership restrictions.

  • Andyinsdca Andyinsdca on Jan 10, 2008

    Also, Japanese microcars are pretty much deathtraps. All of the reliability of a Toyota or Honda with all of the safety of an MGB.

  • Adamatari Adamatari on Jan 10, 2008

    One of the things that annoys me to no end about the current situation in America is that those kei cars are what we need if we are serious about reducing fuel consumption - those and European very small cars. Yet nobody talks about them much. Yeah, saftey is an issue, but if they were the most common type of car then maybe it wouldn't be so much. On the other hand, I can see why Americans would have trouble with them - we have lots of highway, after all. Often daily commuting involves stretches on the highway as well. Still, if Europeans and Japanese use them primarily, it makes me wonder if we REALLY have to have larger cars. There are highways in Japan and Europe as well. I'm not saying ban larger cars. I just think that if we're serious we need to talk about smaller cars. Plus I want a Suzuki Cappucino.

  • Samir Syed Samir Syed on Jan 11, 2008
    There are highways in Japan and Europe as well. Ever do 3 miles of highway in a Renault Twingo?