Prius Is Top-Selling Car In Japan

Hybrid car was the top-selling vehicle in the April-September period, despite a big decline in sales and production after the earthquake and tsunami.

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius hybrid car was the top-selling vehicle in Japan in the April-September period for the third straight year, despite a big decline in sales and production following the March earthquake and tsunami, industry bodies said Thursday.

Prius sales in the first six months of fiscal 2011 decreased 33.2 percent from a year earlier to 113,211 vehicles, according to data released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

While the temporary drop in production dented sales, the environmentally friendly car saw its sales revive due to its popularity as a fuel-efficient car after production returned to normal.

Fuel-efficient small cars were popular in the first half of fiscal 2011, with Honda Motor Co.'s Fit subcompact ranked second and Suzuki Motor Corp.'s WagonR minicar third in sales.

Of the 10 top-selling models, Daihatsu Motor Co. made three, Toyota and Suzuki each made two, and Honda, Nissan Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. each produced one.

In September alone, the Toyota Prius topped the monthly rankings for the fourth consecutive month, with its sales up 21.8 percent year on year to 33,197 vehicles. Honda's Fit ranked second with sales of 27,980 vehicles and Suzuki's WagonR third with sales of 16,244 vehicles.