• Dec 7th 2010 at 5:31PM
  • 18
2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Toyota Prius has been the top-selling vehicle in its home market of Japan since its redesign in 2009 for the 2010 model year, due partly to a series of incentives created by the Japanese government to promote fuel efficient vehicles – more specifically, hybrids. Those incentives ended in September, leading many to wonder if Toyota's hybrid hatchback could maintain its stranglehold atop the sales board.

Apparently, the answer is yes. According to data provided by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association, Toyota managed to sell 21,400 Prius hybrids in November, more than enough to earn the fuel-sipper the top sales spot over the second-place Honda Fit (16,677 units).

It seems that the end of hybrid vehicle subsidies did take something of a toll on Prius sales, however. Though still on top, sales of Toyota's hybrid hatchback were down by just over 20 percent when compared to the same period one year ago, when the Japanese government's incentives were in full effect. Still, Toyota's green jellybean has enjoyed 18 months at the top and still has quite a few carlengths on the Fit, and that's nothing to be sneezed at.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm a little surprised, but to each his own.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good job Pruis.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye. If GM does not manufacture even a SINGLE car in Japan to contribute to Japan's GDP also known as economy, then WHY should Japanese citizens buy GM cars imported from outside of Japan?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hello Kitty is big in Japan as well...
      • 4 Years Ago
      The motto of Chinese citizens is "If it's not made in China, then it's not a buy". Chinese people only buy cars that are made in China so their prices go into China's economy. The same thing for Japanese citizens. GM refuses to manufacture in Japan to contribute to Japan's GDP, and hence no GM car will sell in Japan.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Doesn't China have a 20% tariff on auto imports?

        And why don't we have a matching tariff on Chinese products?
      • 4 Years Ago
      It isn't only government incentives...

      -The price of gas in Japan is nearly double what you pay in the States.
      -Most Japanese don't need lots of power; the country is small and long distance journeys are made by plane or by shinkansen bullet train
      -The amount of tech loaded in the Prius is amazing for its price, esp. the JDM version of it (G-Book, anyone?)

      As a result, the popularity of the Prius really should come as no surprise.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Yeah, I read that too. It seems very ambiguous and not a complete backpedal. It is the kind of thing I would expect him to say when there's probably money and/or lawyers involved behind the scenes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The tax incentives were effective for all high efficiency cars which included everything from the Imprezza to the Suzuki Wagon R kei car. They ended about a month and a half ago.

        As for Japan's govt. funding research, I'm not sure. But then again Japanese people have the sense not to dogmatically label everything government related as the enemy. Beyond that, most governments in advanced/advancing nations actively push their industrial sector with incentives and assistance. The U.S. isn't an exception either. Government, like a gun or religion, isn't inherently good or bad. That's determined without exception by those who wield them.

        The thing that particularly Americans miss is that gas is over $4.5 a gallon in Japan and the Prius isn't exactly the most expensive car. Add to that the fact that it's essentially a swoopy 2 box with loads of usability and I'm not too surprised except that it's not the easiest car on the eyes (here'snext gen takes hints from Audi sportback and Aston Rapide. They won't be able to make enough of them.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tourian, Jim Press backpedalled from that lie (keep in mind he was mad because Toyota would not promote him any higher and he left as a disgruntled ex-employee):


        And the gift giving happened with American car companies with the worthless PNGV deal:

      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought Honda killed the Civic in Japan because it was "too big," or was that just a rumor?

      The Prius isn't small.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I would think Honda people buy Fit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      goooo insight. oh wait. womp womp.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So has this trend put any measurable dent in the amount of oil they import? Japan's population is currently shrinking, so logically, the total amount of vehicles on the roads should shrink in some proportion to the population. Therefore, baring any new uses for petroleum, they should see a decrease in the amount of importation, you would think.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My 79 year old mother and millions of left-lane cloggers will be thrilled.

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