Honda Fit Takes 2011 First Half Honors, Edging Out Toyota’s Prius

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Honda’s Fit is claiming top honors for new car sales in Japan for the first half of 2011. The addition of the hybrid version to the Fit family in October 2010, as well as Honda’s low-interest loans were the main reasons for its success according to analysts. Things would have looked even better for Honda if the earthquake back in March had not pushed back the introduction of the larger Fit Shuttle to June.

Although the Fit’s sales were down 2.1% over the same period in 2010, this was a very modest drop compared with Toyota’s Prius, which tumbled 51.1% and into second place in the rankings. To be fair, the Prius is obviously only available as a hybrid, whereas the Fit has a range of regular ICE models in addition to the hybrid.

There were some models in the top ten that actually increased sales over the same period last year, despite the affects of the earthquake disaster. The key factor in their success seems to be that all of them were upgraded at the end of 2010, according to analysts. Personally, I think it is interesting to note that each of these are small cars – some of them kei cars – which have had greater appeal in these difficult economic times. These models that made gains were Daihatsu’s Move (at number 3), Toyota’s Vitz (at number 5) and Honda’s Life (at number 9).

Toyota’s Prius took the sales crown for June, with numbers down 39% from the same month last year, but which represents a great fight back after seeing sales down about 80% in May. Honda’s Fit came in second, and Suzuki’s Wagon R in third.

In future months it will be interesting to see how the Prius minivan-type Prius Alpha, and also Honda’s Fit Shuttle impact these rankings.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese-language)

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