Not surprising in the least. Perhaps you can guess. We'll give you a hint: It rhymes with pious. Yes, that's right. The best-selling new car in Japan for 2009 is none other than the Toyota Prius. By way of comparison, the Toyota Prius was the 16th best-selling vehicle here in the United States last year (see the entire U.S. top 20 here).
Like numbers? Here you go: Toyota managed to sell 208,876 Prius hybrids in Japan in 2009, setting a new record – a whopping 300-percent improvement over 2008 – and putting that nameplate well ahead of the second-place finisher, the Honda Fit, which sold 157,324 units. Coming in at number five was the Prius' hybrid competitor, the Honda Insight, with 93,283 sales.
A slew of government-sponsored tax breaks and incentives, coupled with highly-taxed and expensive gasoline helped boost sales of fuel efficient vehicles in Japan. Keep in mind that this particular list doesn't include Kei cars, the mini-mobiles powered by tiny 660cc turbocharged engines that also happen to be highly fuel efficient.