By on January 7, 2010

The Toyota Prius.

According to Japan’s JADA dealer association data, quoted by the Nikkei [sub], Toyota’s Prius became the first hybrid to take the prime spot on Japan’s annual sales ranking of all cars, including minivehicles. 2009 Sales of the Prius jumped nearly 300 percent to 208,876 units.

Suzuki WagonR minivehicle took second, Daihatsu’s Move minivehicle took the third spot on the podium.

Japan’s second-bestselling hybrid is Honda’s Insight, way down in the #8 slot with 93,283 units sold. Hybrids already make up about 10 per cent of new vehicle sales in Japan.

Despite our best efforts, we can’t get you the complete Japanese Top Ten just yet. Snotty JADA ignores minivehicles in its sales tracking. The 2009 JADA ranking of “real” cars is as follows:

  1. Prius Toyota 208,876
  2. Fit Honda  157,324
  3. Vitz Toyota 117,655
  4. PASSO Toyota 98,883
  5. Insight Honda 93,283
  6. Corolla Toyota 90,178
  7. Freed Honda 79,525
  8. Serena Nissan 78,836
  9. Voxy Toyota 71,426
  10. Note Nissan 65,745

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10 Comments on “And The Bestselling Car In Japan Is …...”


  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    And for a short while dealers made a profit on the Prius during C4C. Before and after not very much. This is telling in relation to Hybrid prices in general. The masses who would drive these, can’t afford them, and the people that can afford them ,want them for less than invoice.  With all the new Hybrids about to hit the market , no company has made an affordable one  yet.  If you  look at the more expensive Hi-Line Hybrids you will see dismal numbers. This is the most important factor to the proliferation of greener cars.  As far as the electric cars go, don’t even get me started.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Agreed.  I made a similar comment in another TTAC posting regarding the inevitable fall in the average Prius transaction price as competent competiton enters the HEV market (and also market saturation occurs…)

      Bertel, Does anybody have a bead on who the customers are that are buying all these Priuses? 

      Last time I looked, minicar was the largest segment.  For Prius to climb to the top of the heap, either they must be giving them away, or a whole lot of them are being sold to corporate fleets or taxi fleets (I hesitate to add rental fleets, because based on my travel in Japan, I can’t believe Jpn rental fleets are anywhere near as large, proportionately-speaking, as those in EU or US, and so would not exist to absorb large numbers of these cars) …

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I would consider the Insight to be affordable.
       
      It’s not just hybrids that have dropped in demand and price, but gas prices certainly are a large factor in hybrid demand.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

       
      They seem like they sell pretty well to all kinds of people, there are probably at least 10 of them in my sleepy little town of 8,000 here in the middle of nowhere here in East TN, including a first gen model.

  • avatar

    Robert: I have no hard data on who’s driving them. I’m in Japan right now. I sure see a lot of them, and they seem to be occupied by nice Japanese families.  Hybrids are tax exempt in Japan. And there are subsidies for fuel efficient cars. Green is big here, as evidenced by the trash collection schedule in our kitchen: Plastic Wednesday and Saturday, unrecycleable items second and fourth Monday in the month, paper, cans, plastic bottles  for recycling Tuesdays, and there may be nuances that are rost in tlansration.  This is a lax town, compared to this.
    10-4 on the size of rental fleets.
    The taxi fleets are not using a Prius. The usual Tokyo taxi is a Toyota Crown, often with a LPG tank in the trunk that cuts down on luggage space. And with rear doors that can be closed remotely. Just in case you are wondering why a Japanese tourist in Manhattan or Rome gets out of a cab and leaves the door open.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    Wonder why you posted a pic of a 2nd gen Prius when it’s the new 3rd gen Prius which has crippled sales of the Honda Insight and done so much to make it #1 car in Nippon? The Japanese Gov’t green car incentives (100K yen off, upto 250K yen if trading in a car over 13 years old) have had a lot to do with the purchasability of the Prius and as you mention, Japanese consumers are very switched on to their environmental stewardship.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Bertel,
    why are the taxi fares so goddamn expensive in Japan?

  • avatar
    stuki

                    One car tinier than the next! And minicars aren’t even on the list! If they were, even the few microvans at the bottom would likely be knocked off. Even Europeans must seem giant car addicted when viewed from Japan. If the rest of Asia (and the world) follows a similar pattern as it develops, the Detroit/Washington automakers are really going to be in a bind once cars become transportation for the masses, rather than status symbols for the nouveau riches.
     
                    Anyway, the third gen Prius is one heck of a car. Well built, cheap to operate, reasonably quiet, and with a nice size / roominess tradeoff for urban / suburban dwellers. Much of its success is simply due to it being exactly the kind of car large numbers of people find most appealing, even excepting it’s hybridism.
     
                    The main obstacle to selling this kind of car pre Prius, was simply that rich world motorists were loathe to buy them, as they didn’t seem ‘cool’ enough. Once Toyota broke down that barrier by attaching the Prius to the fad of our age, sales started flooding in. Not because it’s buyers are all green zealots, but simply because suddenly the car they always wanted no longer came with such a ‘people mover’ stigma attached.

  • avatar
    charly

    Japanes streets are tiny and you need to provide for your own parking unlike the rest of the world.  That means that if you only have a tine parking spot (not uncommon) that you can only buy a tiny car. In the rest of the world streets are wider and parking spaces are provided by government (even if you have to pay for it) .  Those government issued parking spaces are standardized so there aren’t that many people who have to deal with a tiny parking space so less demand for ultra small cars.

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