The Toyota Prius is unquestionably the world's best-selling hybrid vehicle and, for the past 20 months, Toyota's gas-electric has held the title of the top-selling automobile of any type in Japan. Well, the fuel-sipping Prius has finally relinquished its perch atop the Japanese sales chart and the new champ is a pint-sized contender ready for the big leagues.
In January, the Honda Fit subcompact overtook the Toyota Prius, capturing the number one spot. Fit sales in Japan surged to 14,873 units in the first month of this year, a 14 percent increase over the sales it tallied in January 2010. In addition, nearly half of the 14,000-plus buyers opted for the Fit Hybrid. Part of the appeal of Honda's subcompact gas-electric lies in its ¥1.59 million ($19,331 U.S. at the current exchange rate) price tag, which is approximately $3,500 less than the Honda Insight and undercuts the Prius by a similar margin. Perhaps, as one analyst previously pointed out, it really is time for Toyota to consider a Prius price drop.