Aside from North America, the only other market where hybrid vehicles have really taken off is Japan. Even with the popularity of the Prius and other hybrids from Toyota, none has ever made it to the top of the Japanese sales charts. Until now that is, as the new Honda Insight has gotten off to a strong start in Japan. April 2009 saw 10,481 new Insights registered in Japan, which puts it just ahead of the Honda Fit with 9,443 sales. The Fit was the top selling car in Japan for both the 2008 calendar year and fiscal year. So far through three months, buyers have purchased 19,475 Insights.
It will be interesting to watch what takes place over the next several months as the new Prius goes on sale. While Honda emphasizes that the two cars are not direct competitors, Toyota has seen the writing on the wall and priced the Prius aggressively in order to try and claw back some sales from the Honda Hybrid.