Honda's Fit subcompact, fully redesigned last month for the first time in six years, has won Japan's Car of the Year title for 2007-2008, the organiser said Wednesday.

The second-generation Fit, badged the Jazz in Europe and some other Asian countries, went on sale in Japan on 26 October and has since already received more than 20,000 orders, Kyodo News reported.

''Our proposed value of 'the ideal small (car)' has been accepted by many people and we are very happy,'' Honda president Takeo Fukui reportedly said in a statement.

Kyodo News noted that the executive committee for the award, consisting of about 60 motoring journalists and experts, makes the award to the best passenger car selected from all vehicles sold in Japan between 1 November of the previous year and 31 October of the current year.

The committee selected the Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan as its Import Car of the Year.

The Jazz/Fit five-door hatchback has achieved cumulative global sales of more than 2m units since the first generation was launched in 2001, the Japanese news agency said.

The launch model - which replaced the Logo -also won the COTY award in 2001.

In 2002, the Fit became Japan's best-selling car, unseating Toyota 's Corolla from its coveted position for the first time in 34 years, Kyodo News added.

It is now sold in about 115 countries, accounting for about 10% of Honda's global auto sales, the news agency said, citing the automaker.