Pruis Regains Top Spot in Japan’s February New Car Sales

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, March 5th, 2011

I guess it takes more than the removal of Japan’s government “EcoCar” incentive scheme to dampen the Japanese buying public’s love affair with the Toyota Prius: Here it is back again at number 1 in February, knocking Honda’s Fit off the pedestal.

Although the Prius’ sales are down 29.2% on last year and have been declining for the last 6 months, it was still able to beat off the competition due to the number of businesses and other organizations choosing it to replace non-hybrid fleet vehicles. Toyota’s long-term effort to make the name Prius synonymous with fuel-sipping hybrids is paying off as purchasing managers are buying them up in droves.

Of course, this is probably resulting in a decline in Corolla and Probox sales to this business fleet market, so it may be a bit of a zero-sum game for Toyota in this regard. It will be interesting to see how the introduction of Toyota’s new minivan Prius model in Japan in April affects the standard Prius sales as well.

The Toyota Group does particularly well when you remember that Daihatsu is a subsidiary company focused on the smaller kei cars. Including Daihatsu, Toyota Group cars occupy 3 of the top 5 positions in the sales chart, and a total of 4 of the top 10.

This extra push from the business market is also seeing the Prius pull away from the second through fourth-place models, which are in stiff competition with only about 600 sales covering them as you can see from the data below:

New car sales in Japan top 10 for February 2011

Sources: Zaikei (Japanese-language) Nikkei (Japanese-language)

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