Toyota's Prius hybrid maintained its position at the head of Japan's market for new passenger cars for the 12th consecutive month in May, according to industry data.

The Prius came on top with sales of 27,208 units based on sales rankings compiled with data from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

Prius sales continued to benefit from the government program to reward buyers of fuel-efficient cars. The hatchback was still popular, although a new model was marketed in May last year.

Suzuki Motor Corp.'s WagonR minicar ranked second with sales of 14,475 units, followed by Daihatsu Motor Co.'s Tanto minicar at 13,518 units.

All cars in the top 10 list were eligible for the government subsidy and tax break aimed at promoting sales of eco-friendly cars.