2011 Honda CR-Z – Click above for high-res image gallery

In its home market of Japan, the Honda CR-Z has proven to be a sales success in the early stages. In less than three weeks the company has reported sales nearing the 8,000 unit mark. That's nearly eight times higher than expected since the sporty hybrid went on sale at the end of February

Higher than anticipated sales volume may lead Honda to rethink its initial yearly sales target, currently set at 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles worldwide. According to the company, one aspect stand outs amongst the 8,000 CR-Z buyers: 40 percent have chosen the manual transmission option, a stark contrast to the Japanese automotive market which is dominated by automatics. Even with a sales spike, Honda still trails competing Toyota by a wide margin in the hybrid market. For comparison, Toyota sold 27,000 Priuses last month while just 3,500 Insights left dealer lots. Honda has a lot of work ahead to catch Toyota.

Initial demand in the Japanese market does not always translate into worldwide success. It's worth mentioning that the Insight also saw early sales success in Japan, only to end up with lower than anticipated volumes worldwide. Several reviews critical of the Insight certainly did not help sales either. Still, if success in Japan is any indication of what to expect here, Toyota may have to share a little more of the market.

[Source: Reuters]

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