Regime Change In Japan: Honda Fit Dethrones Toyota Prius
We had intimated it a few days ago, now it’s official: Toyota’s Prius is no longer primus (or make that ichi ban) in Japan. The hybrid that had been Japan’s best selling car for 20 months in a row had to relinquish the throne to Honda’s Fit.
That according to data provided by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association to The Nikkei [sub]. January JDM sales of the Fit rose 13.9 percent to 14,873 units, those of the Prius sales dropped 38.5 percent to 13,711 units, which put the Prius into second place.
Two factors triggered the change of positions: The Fit received a hybrid version in last October, which is selling well. The hybrid Fit is still a Fit, adding to the overall fitness of the Fit’s sales numbers. And then there’s the enemy within: The recently launched Toyota Vitz (Yaris for most of you) is off to a good start. It sold 11,018 units in January, up 26.4 percent, and took gnawing away on the Prius. The Prius now has to contend with Fit and Vitz.
So it’s Honda followed by two Toyotas. All separated by not much. It’ll be an interesting racing season – of sorts.
Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.
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