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Japan January 2015: Toyota Aqua triumphs thanks to facelift

Toyota Aqua X-URBAN Japan January 2015. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpToyota Aqua X-URBAN

* Discover the Top 30 best-selling models and Top 53 All-brands. Thanks Stephen *

The first quarter of 2014 saw record sales in Japan due to an impending tax increase. Consequently, January 2015 sales are well below (-19%), with imports faring the best at -14.5% and KEI cars down 19%. Automakers are doing their best to mitigate the damage and many new and refreshed models hitting the charts this month and on the horizon. At the top of the regular model charts is 2014’s best seller the Toyota Aqua. Though down 13% year-on-year, it starts the new year with a more than an 8000 unit-lead over its closest competitor. The Aqua received a major facelift in December plus the addition of the crossover-styled X-URBAN model.

Subaru Legacy Japan January 2014. Picture courtesy of jp.autoblog.comSubaru Legacy

Honda Fit barely reclaims the #2 spot from Toyota Prius, while its new sedan counterpart Grace slips to #17 after its debut last month at #10. Mazda released mid-cycle refreshed models of two of it’s best sellers this month the CX-5 and Atenza with the former climbing nine places to #20. Toyota’s fullsize minivan twins Alphard and Vellfire received a full model change for the first time in 8 years on January 26, so while inventory of the old model was cleared out to make way for the new generation both namplates disappear from the January Top 30 but expect a big return in February. This did let another recent debut sneak back onto the chart, however, the new generation Subaru Legacy finally appears at #28 after going on sale the end of October. Subaru has discontinued production of the Legacy Touring Wagon to focus on the slightly smaller Levorg, so this may be the last appearance of this model on the chart as the wagon accounted for a majority of Legacy sales now consisting of only the B4 sedan and Outback crossover versions.

Honda N: Japan January 2015. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpHonda N-BOX Slash: Kei cars are getting weirder by the minute in Japan.

The Kei chart starts off the year with quite a lot of movement. Climbing four spots to #1 the Honda N-Box returns with the debut of N-Box Slash (N/). The Slash incorporates the hidden door handles of the Vezel to give more of a coupe appearance while the interior is available in several America-inspired retro styles. I expect this model to be a fairly niche vehicle so it may drop pretty quickly like we see from the Daihatsu Wake this month. The Nissan Dayz climbs a massive eight spots to #2 in thanks to an ad push and newly available emergency brake assist technology and around-view monitor. This leaves the new generation Daihatsu Move which debuted in December at #3 and last year’s top seller Tanto at #4.

Previous post: Japan Full Year 2014: Kei cars surge, Daihatsu Tanto above Toyota Aqua

Previous month: Japan December 2014: Honda Grace lands directly at #10

One year ago (regular): Japan January 2014: Nissan X-Trail, Honda Vezel & Toyota Harrier beat records

One year ago (Kei): Japan Kei cars January 2014: Honda N-WGN passes N-BOX to #2

Full January 2015 Top 30 regular models, Top 35 Kei cars and Top 53 All-brands below.

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