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April 6, 2010

JAPAN: Prius tops in fiscal 2009

Toyota's Prius hybrid hatchback was Japan's top-selling vehicle in fiscal year 2009/10, seizing pole position for the first time, data released by industry bodies showed on Tuesday.

Toyota’s Prius hybrid hatchback was Japan’s top-selling vehicle in fiscal year 2009/10, seizing pole position for the first time, data released by industry bodies showed on Tuesday.

Sales of the fuel-efficient car almost quadrupled in the fiscal year ended last Wednesday from the previous fiscal year to 277,485 units, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, Kyodo News reported.

The Prius captured the top spot from Suzuki Motor’s WagonR minicar, which had been the nation’s best-selling car for the fifth straight year to the end of fiscal 2008.

In fiscal 2008, minivehicles with engines of up to 660cc took the top three positions but in the reporting year, hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles were popular, buoyed by the government’s tax break and subsidy systems for environmentally friendly vehicles, JADA officials said.

The WagonR was the runner-up in 2009/10, with sales coming to 193,430 units, down 7.2%, according to the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

Honda’s Fit (Jazz) was third place with sales of 173,154 units, up 13.8%, followed by Daihatsu’s Move minicar, which sold 162,423 units, down 16.0%.

Daihatsu’s Tanto minicar was fifth with sales of 161,576 units, up 1.2%.

All of the vehicles that took the top 10 slots in fiscal 2009 were given tax breaks for eco-cars.

Low-priced, fuel-efficient minivehicles took four of the top 10 spots.

Toyota’s Vitz (Yaris) and Passo compact cars ranked sixth and seventh with sales of 125,253 units, up 13.6%, and 101,360 units, up 27.4%, respectively.

Eighth place went to Suzuki’s Alto minicar, which sold 99,245 units, up 36.0 percent, followed by Toyota’s Corolla sedan with sales of 96,765 units, down 22.7 percent.

Honda’s Insight hybrid hatchback was in 10th place with sales of 96,616 units. A year-on-year percentage comparison figure is not provided as the car made a showroom debut only in February last year.

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