The Toyota Corolla launched in 1966 and became #1 in Japan in 1969.
* The direct links to 41 Japan Historical posts are below
Japan Historical Data back to 1969 is now available. From 1996 onwards there is now a detailed Year-end Top 30 models ranking and links to absolutely every single monthly Top 30 ranking – that’s over 250 consecutive months. Note I don’t have any detailed data up until 1991 so if you do please make sure you get in touch by commenting on this article.
2007 was the 37th and last year the Toyota Corolla was #1 in Japan
Over this 42 year-period, only 5 models have managed to hold the year-end Japanese pole position in the regular car ranking: The Toyota Corolla – 10 generations of it – dominated for 37 years: from 1969 to 2001 and from 2003 to 2007. The Honda Fit was on top in 2002 and 2008, the Toyota Prius shot to stardom from 2009 to 2012, beating the annual Japanese sales record in 2010 at 315,669 units, and again from 2016 onwards while the Toyota Aqua took the lead from 2013 to 2015 and the Nissan Note finished first in 2018.
The Toyota Prius sold a record 315,669 units in 2010 alone in Japan.
Rediscover forgotten nameplates like the Honda SM-X, directly #12 in 1997… Witness the explosive arrival of the Toyota Vitz launched in January 1999 and already #1 in April and July of that year ahead of the Corolla, then for 5 consecutive months in 2000 and again for 7 months when the 2nd generation launched in 2005, however never managing to grab the pole position at year end…
The Honda SM-X ranked #12 in 1997
Discover the success of lesser known models like the Honda Odyssey, #1 in June 2000, December 2003 and January 2004, the Toyota Estima, #1 in August 2000, the Toyota Wish, #1 in April 2003 only 3 months after its launch, the Toyota Ractis, #1 in November 2005 and the Honda Insight, #1 in April 2009.
Japan Historical Data:
Japan 1969-1990: Toyota Corolla reigns
Japan 1982: Mazda Familia threatens Toyota Corolla
Japan 1991: Toyota Corolla, Mark II and Honda Civic on podium
Japan 1992: Toyota monopolises podium with Corolla, Mark II and Crown
Japan 1993-1994: Toyota Corolla continues to dominate
Japan 1995: Toyota Corolla, Crown and Nissan March on top
Japan 1996: Toyota Crown and Starlet up, Honda CR-V impresses
Japan 1997: Toyota Corolla and Nissan March on top, Honda StepWGN up to #5
Japan 1998: Toyota Corolla, Nissan Cube and Suzuki Wagon R favourites
Japan 1999: Toyota Corolla and Vitz in the lead
Japan 2000: Toyota Vitz threatens Toyota Corolla for pole position
Japan 2001: Year 33 of the Toyota Corolla reign
Japan 2002: Honda Fit interrupts 33-year long Toyota Corolla domination!
Japan 2003: Corolla back on top, Toyota Wish #3
Japan 2004: Toyota Corolla, Honda Fit and Nissan Cube on podium
Japan 2005: Toyota Vitz threatens Corolla, Ractis starts strong
Japan 2006: New generation enables Corolla to keep the lead
Japan 2007: 37th year of Corolla domination (it’s the last one)
Japan 2008: Honda Fit crowned
Japan 2009: Toyota Prius takes off, #1 at 200,000+ sales
Japan 2010: Toyota Prius breaks record
Japan 2011: Toyota Prius leads in difficult year
Japan 2012: All-new Toyota Aqua most successful launch in 20 years, tickles Prius
Japan 2013: Toyota Aqua celebrates first year on top
Japan 2014: Kei cars surge, Daihatsu Tanto outsells Toyota Aqua
Japan 2014: Now with exclusive Top 189 All-local models
Japan 2015: Toyota Aqua leads, tax hike hurts kei cars
Japan 2015: Now with exclusive Top 184 All-local models
Japan 2016: Toyota Prius returns to #1 spot after 3 year-hiatus
Japan 2016: Now with exclusive Top 170 All local models
Japan 2017: Honda N-BOX and Toyota Prius on top, Toyota C-HR wins one month
Japan 2017: Complete Japanese models data now available
Japan 2018: Note first Nissan to ever top the regular car ranking, Honda N-BOX #1 overall, breaks volume record
Japan 2018: Now with exclusive Top 175 All local models
Japan Kei Cars 2006-2009: Suzuki Wagon R on top
Japan Kei Cars 2010: Suzuki Wagon R #1 for 8th year in a row
Japan Kei Cars 2011: Suzuki Wagon R celebrates 9 years on top
Japan Kei Cars 2012: Daihatsu Mira ends 9 years of Suzuki Wagon R reign
Japan Kei Cars 2013: Honda N-BOX takes control
Japan Imports 2010: VW Golf, Polo and Mini shine
Japan Imports 2011: VW Golf #1, now in overall Top 30!
Japan Imports 2012: VW Golf #1, Mini at record heights
Japan Imports 2013: VW Golf #1, BMW 3 Series up 69% to 2nd place