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Japan Full Year 2011: Toyota Prius leads in difficult year

Toyota Prius

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2011 was a very tough year for Japan. The deadly March 11 earthquake and tsunami paralysed the country for many weeks and poor car sales are only a minor consequence of the disaster. At year-end, 2,689,074 new cars were registered in Japan in 2011, down 17% on 2010 (2,894,931 and – 15% with imports) and the lowest yearly figure since the records started in 1968. The future looks bright though, with December sales up 23% to 221,960 units and the momentum from the last few months expected to carry over into 2012 following a government push to subsidise the purchase of clean vehicles.

Honda Fit

Toyota was hit hardest by tsunami-related production issues and as a result the Honda Fit was #1 year-to-date up until July when the Toyota Prius reclaimed the pole position. The Prius finishes the year #1 for the third time in a row with 252,528 sales, down 20% on 2010, also helped by the arrival of its Alpha MPV version. The Fit is #2 for the third consecutive year as well with sales up 12% to 207,882 thanks to the new Hybrid and Shuttle versions.

Toyota Vitz

Helped by the new generation, the Toyota Vitz (aka Yaris) stays 3rd at 128,725 units, up 5%, followed by the Nissan Serena up 4 spots and 12% to 84,539 sales, the Toyota Corolla down 1 rank and 36% to 70,758 units, the Honda Freed down 26% to 67,736 and the Mazda Demio down 6% to 61,736 but up 4 spots to #7.

Toyota Ractis (and its twin the Subaru Trezia)

Other good 2011 performers include the Toyota Ractis up 11 ranks and 27% to #8, the Nissan March up 7 spots to #10, the Suzuki Solio landing directly at #15 with 36,902 sales, the Nissan Juke up 17 ranks and 50% to #18, the Subaru Impreza up 6 spots to #27 and the Lexus CT200h landing directly at #29 with 20,704 units.

Apart from the Suzuki Solio in January and the Lexus Ct200h in March, two other models broke into the monthly Top 30 for the first time this year: the Nissan Leaf in February and the Mitsubishi Delica D2 in April.

Toyota Camry

In December, the Honda Freed is up to #3, Toyota Voxy up to #7, Toyota Vellfire up to #11, Toyota Alphard up to #21 and the Toyota Camry makes an extremely rare but well noticed appearance in the Top 30 at #30 with 1,499 sales, up 1847% (!) 0n December 2010 thanks to the new generation now in dealerships.

Previous month: Japan November 2011: Toyota Prius boosted by the Alpha version

Previous year: Japan Full Year 2010: Toyota Prius breaks record

Full Year and December 2011 Top 30 Ranking Tables below.

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