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.
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
(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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