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Japan: 1969-2023 Historical Data now available

The Toyota Corolla launched in 1966 and became #1 in Japan in 1969.

* The direct links to 45 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 as 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 ranking #1 again in 2016, 2017 and 2019. The Toyota Aqua took the lead from 2013 to 2015, the Note became the first Nissan to top the charts in 2018 and the Toyota Yaris followed in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, helped by the arrival of the Yaris Cross.

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 2019: Toyota Prius reclaims regular car lead but Corolla and Raize end on a high in market down -1.5%

Japan 2020: Toyota holds best among top brands, Yaris and Raize top market down -11.5%

Japan 2021: Toyota Yaris and Roomy top market down -3.3%

Japan 2022: Honda N-BOX and Toyota Yaris best-sellers in market off -5.6%

Japan 2023: Honda N-BOX and Toyota Yaris on top again, Toyota places 8 models in Top 9

Kei Cars (included in the general update from 2014 onwards):

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

Imports (included in the general update from 2014 onwards):

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

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Hi Matt

    Although not much, I do have a top 10 for the month of april 1982 + YTD numbers, with a comparison to april 1981.

  2. Hey.
    I have detailed data in spreadsheet form (sales numbers only but I can access YOY percentage gains/losses) for every year since 1996 and for kei cars since 2006, again just sales numbers but I know the location of YOY percentages, all of it can be found online anyway =)


    1. Hey Joe thanks very much for this – I still have your note with the link to 1996 sales, will update the site as soon as I have time!

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