• May 11, 2009
2010 Honda Insight - Click above for high-res image gallery

In a historic move that's sure to irk their archrivals in Toyota City, Honda's new Insight has become the first-ever hybrid vehicle to top the sales charts in Japan. By shifting some 10,481 units last month, the teardrop-shaped model became Nippon's best-selling car in April, a feat no gas-electric car has managed previously. That's according to the Japan Automobile Dealer's Association, which tracks vehicle sales (in the interest of full disclosure, the group's findings exclude 660cc "kei" cars).

Those 10,481 units vaulted the Insight from its slot as Japan's 21st best-selling model in March, a major jump that's likely down to production ramp-up and increased consumer awareness (Honda launched the car on February 2). The Insight, which starts at 1.89 million yen ($19,190) outpaced its brother, the Honda Fit/Jazz hatchback, while Toyota's Vitz (Yaris) finished in third, Ironically, Toyota's Prius rung up in 21st place, but the third-generation model isn't expected to go on sale until May 18, and Toyota has already cut the iconic model's base price in order to be more competitive with Honda's upstart. Press release after the jump.



[Source: Honda]

PRESS RELEASE:

LANDMARK ACHIEVEMENT FOR INSIGHT IN JAPAN
Insight is first hybrid to become Japan's best-selling vehicle

Honda's new Insight ranked as the entire industry's best-selling new car in Japan for April 2009, with sales of 10,481 units. It is the first time that a hybrid model has topped the new car sales tables in Japan.

The Honda Fit (or Jazz as it is known in Europe) was Japan's best-selling new car for calendar year 2008 and for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009. Fit was also the industry's best-selling car for March 2009, its fourth consecutive month at the top, until it was displaced by Insight to become the industry's second best-selling car in April 2009. It is the first time Honda has occupied the industry's top two best-selling car positions.

Since its introduction on February 6, 2009, the all-new Insight has been very well received by a wide range of customers due to its excellent environmental performance and affordable pricing.

Insight sales in Japan
Sales of Insight began February 6, 2009

Cumulative Sales
(since sales start)

Monthly ranking among new vehicle registrations in Japan

February 2009 Sales Result
4,906 units 10th

March 2009 Sales Result
4,088 units 21st

April 2009 Sales Result
10,481 units 1st

* excluding mini-vehicles - under 660cc

Source: Japan Automobile Dealers Association

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Congrats, Honda! This is why it will do better than Toyota!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just seen one last night.
      It really doesn't look too bad, alot better then a toyota prius.
      Would never drive one though :P
        • 5 Years Ago
        x2


        my 89 fiesta is still kicking
        • 5 Years Ago
        agreed, for all the talk of how much it looks like a prius, it certainly looks a lot better in person. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that it's smaller, and cheaper as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The bus stop stunt is a bad idea. You can't get enough power from solar panels on a bus stop to make a difference in the temperature in a bus stop.

        On the Prius also, the value of the fans isn't that they can make it pleasant inside, it is that they keep heat from building up due to the greenhouse effect of the glass. So when you get in your car it is only 10 degrees hotter than ambient in there instead of 30.

        I also find it odd Toyota is going to roll out a marketing blitz for a feature that was available in 2000 in my Audi A6.

        http://www.cars.com/go/crp/research.jsp?makeid=4&modelid=22&year=2000§ion=reviews

        (search for solar sunroof)
        • 5 Years Ago
        when can GM and ford got sth like this?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think toyota rolling out the blitz is like hyundai when the elantra gt came with leather and a sunroof, sort of the 'me-too' customers who don't care what brand it is they just want the features kind of advertisement. Plus, I'm betting the vast majority of Americans have never heard of the option even though it's been one on the A6 for 9 years and the A8 longer than that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well the old Prius is dead, let's compare this Honda to the New Prius. I believe beginning today Toyota will launch its ad blitz for the new Prius.

        Also for the ultimate PR, in CA and few other states, Toyota will outfit few bus waiting stations with solar panels, which in turn will power fans on the station cooling people waiting for the bus. And the writing in the station will explain that this is exactly how the new Priuses solar roof works, using suns energy for cooling of the vehicle.

        Hope the link works and you can read a little and see the video

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124199018707904593.html#articleTabs%3Dvideo

        warning, if you hate the environment the video is not for you, you WILL be offended.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's rather lame that that ranking excludes kei cars... considering that, IIRC, kei cars make up almost half of all new cars sales in Japan now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So a 3-bar chrome grille only looks good on a Honda? that is the same exact 3-bar grille that many Fords have and almost everyone called them ugly looking.....just pointing something out.
        Derek
        • 5 Years Ago
        1. Most people dislike change, regardless of the reasons and potential benefits.
        2. Those people who fear change most are often the most vocal.

        That said, I think the new grill looks pretty darn good on the Fusion. I've just never been one to think you have to define all your vehicles with one nose. Sometimes, it works (BMW's kidney bean). Other times, it doesn't (like Mitsubishi) end up ruining at least one vehicle because of it, or redesigning front ends like Michael Jackson has nose jobs.

        What I really don't get is why companies blatantly copy each other when the grill is something usually so unique to the vehicle, if not the company. Don't know who's came first, but now Ford and Honda have the 3 bar look. Or even funnier (totally ripped off) is Hummer and their 7 slot grill, which was part of the iconic Jeep lineup look forever (and somehow Jeep lost their lawsuit).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its just a prius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      still wish they had the insight v1 out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks better than the Prius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey this car has become very popular in Japan, and has some amazing Environmentally -friendly driving features...
      I've started a new Honda blog and I posted about it - here is the link, check it out :) http://hondachitchat.wordpress.com/

      Any suggestions for other cars people want to know about? I can get the inside scoop because I work at Toronto Honda http://www.torontohonda.com/
      • 5 Years Ago
      Aren't you guys writers?

      The correct grammar is "In an historic..." not "In a historic...".

      Oi.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Work the PR.
      Build up orders orders for several months.
      Sandbag inventory for a few months.
      Ship all in one month.
      QED.
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