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Prius Top Selling Car in Japan in May

Toyota’s new Prius was Japan’s top-selling vehicle in May, according to new car sales rankings—excluding minicars with displacements of less than 660 cc—released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA).

Prius sales in Japan by month since January 2007. Data: JADA. Click to enlarge.

The Prius posted 10,915 units in May, in Japan more than twice the 5,079 units sold in May 2008 and compared to 1,952 units in April 2009, according to the JADA data. (In the US, Toyota reported 10,091 units of the Prius sold in May.)

In April, the Honda Insight had been the top-seller—the first hybrid to be such—with 10,481 units. (Earlier post.) In May, the Insight dropped to third place with 8,183 units, behind the Prius and the Honda Fit, with 8,859 units.

For the fiscal year from April 2008 to March 2009, the Prius ranked number five in new car sales, with 70,618 units, according to JADA.


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And since Toyota only stated sales the 18th of May we should expect the coming months to post much higher sales (perhaps as high as 15000 per month) and that would clearly make the Prius the best selling model in Japan.


Note also that the numbers 2 and 3 cars are the Honda Fit and the Honda Insight - all economical, relatively inexpensive cars.

If the rest of the world (ahem - USA) bought cars more like those, we wouldn't have the US obsession with the middle east etc.

And we would reach out destinations on time, and have clear air.

If we went the Europen way (diesel) we would have the fuel economy, but not the city air quality.

So well done Japan (for now).


The new Prius and Insight should sell well in the U.S. The U.S. is a large car market, so when hybrids are selling at less than 3% of all vehicles sold, that is still a large number.


I think the new Prius and the Honda Insight are game changer, these 2 models are going to make the market share of hybrid go from 3% to 10% in the coming year. In the same time GM, Chrysler and Ford will have nothing to offer to compete these killers, ha I forgot the Ford fusion hybrid, pffff, they won't be able to ramp up the production to more than 40 000 a year, so people will go buy a prius.


I agree that the Fusion hybrid may fall short in production. The Escape hybrid could have sold more units if they had them over the years. The only reason I can figure is profit margin. You make more on a V6 Fusion than a hybrid.


The new Prius and Insight should sell well in the U.S.

They should, but they probably won’t.
Not with gas below $5/G.

3% of all vehicles sold, is a very small number.
10% is also a small number (and 10% may be optimistic).
47% is a large number. 47% of the US market is light duty trucks (source; WSJ).
27% is a large number. 27% is the US market for SUVs and cross-overs.

Are we triumphant and satisfied with 3%, after 10 years?
I hope not.

If we bought as Japan does, we would be better off – no question.
Why don’t we ? Gas prices.
One fix would be higher gas taxes.

You think people will buy the V6 Fusion over the hybrid because it has the higher profit margin? You cannot be serious.
That’s like loaning out your money and skipping town.

In general we should not believe something just because we want it to be true.
That worked for Santa Clause and Christmas presents, but that was really our mommies and daddies.

I am appalled at the belief in the various conspiracies and hoaxes; the Chevron big battery and the EV1.
The EV1 that was concurrent with that other 2 seat, market place failure, the original Insight.
I liked the Insight. A economy car tour de force to thrill any purist.

I wish such cars were market winners in the US.

I WISH they were. But they are not not – BELIEVING they were is weird.

Spouting such BS may make some feel better but it only hurts our credibility.

Roger Pham

1) Unfortunately, current gasoline prices are still too low to promote high market penetration of HEV, PHEV and BEV.
2) And yet, the US government is going to run trillion-dollar budget deficit in the coming years, and desperately needs a new source of revenue.

Putting 1) and 2) together, it is plainly obvious that gasoline tax has got to go up and up, but gradually enough so that the people can prepare for it with their proper choice of vehicles.

As gasoline tax go up, consumption will go down, and so will be the price of a barrel of oil from OPEC. So, instead of sending money to OPEC, our people will be sending more money to our government to help pay off the huge debt burden from cripling budget deficit. The US government can bail out GM, but who will bail out the US government from bankruptcy?


I expect Prius to outsell Insight 5 to 1 in the US. Insight is underpowered for the US, and is not as refined as Prius.
On average Americans are much heavier than Japanese, they do need more powerfull cars even just for city driving, not to mention highways.


My statement was that Ford did not produce a lot of Escape hybrids because V6 models have a higher profit margin. I did not mean to be ambiguous, but the statement came out that way.

I have no other reason to explain Ford building the Escape hybrids on the same production line as the regular models and producing so few. (20-30k per year) I think that they could have sold many more units if available below 30k each. If I was the new Ford CEO, I would have ramped up production on the Escape hybrid years ago, high profit margins or not. I would have also brought out the Fusion hybrid years ago.


Obviously hybrids are still too costly to build/sell in significant numbers.
I say obviously, because car makers would love to make and sell them (if they were not so costly).

People would love to buy and use them (if they were not so costly).

The government heavily subsidizes them
- (and they are STILL too costly).

The idea that they would be cheaper if they made more of them (economy of scale) and then the price could be lower and they would sell more, and make more and on-and-on, is partially true but apparently inadequate.

3% of the US market is the $30k gorilla in the room.


Eleven thousand sales in May after a record low of 2000 sales in April. I suspect this is partly due to a supply problem in April.

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