Toyota's Aqua hybrid subcompact - exported as the Prius c - was Japan's top-selling vehicle in Japan in November for the second consecutive month in a row while Honda looks set to regain second place for 2012, local media reports said.

Last month, Toyota sold 26,346 new Aquas, up 9% month on month, the Nikkei said. It also  sold 22,039 Prius units in November. The Prius was Japan's best-selling vehicle until September but consumers now appear to prefer the cheaper, fuel-efficient Aqua with a base price if JPY1.69m, about JPY500,000 cheaper than the Prius.

Minivehicles with engines below 660cc dominated the third, fourth and fifth spots on the sales rankings.

The Nikkei, using industry data on new car sales, reckoned Honda had sold about 700,000 vehicles, including minicars, in Japan by the end of November.

This would deliver a 13.9% market share for January-November, up 1.9% year on year. Honda was second after Toyota in 2010.

The automaker enjoyed strong sales of its N Box minivehicle and Fit (Jazz) subcompact which sold about 200,000 units each in the January-November period, the paper said.

Because its new N-One minivehicle has received orders totaling 25,000 units since its 2 November launch, the company will likely end the year with roughly 14% of the market.

At 12.3%, Nissan Motor,  second last year, was slightly behind Toyota's minicar unit Daihatsu, and Suzuki, at the end of November.

Thanks to the popularity of minivehicles, Daihatsu and Suzuki had each sold slightly more than 630,000 units, earning them market shares of around 12.6% apiece.

Toyota was unchallenged at the top, selling 1.59m vehicles for 31.7% of the market.

Overall new-car sales in the January-November period came to 5.03m units, up 30.3% year on year, Nikkei said. For the full year, the figure will likely rise to 5.3m-5.4m with minivehicles accounting for nearly 40%.