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Japan January 2016: New gen Toyota Prius cements new leadership

Toyota Prius Japan January 2016. Picture courtesy autocar.jpThe Toyota Prius is the best-selling vehicle in Japan in January. Picture courtesy

* See the Top 50 All-brands, Top 30 regular cars and Top 35 kei cars by clicking on the title *

This update was created in collaboration with Stephen Bloom.

The Japanese automotive market is off to a slow start in 2016. January monthly sales improve over December, but are still down 5% from a year ago to 382.876 registrations. Regular cars are up just 0.2% to 237.661 with imports down -0.8% to 17.045 units. The kei segment continues to bear the greatest decline at -12% and 145.215 registrations due to a recent taxation increase. Lexus posts its third consecutive month of double-digit gains thanks to the new RX whose sales have been up almost 300% since its October debut. Suzuki posts a modest 2% gain thanks to its regular car lineup up 23% and its recent new Solio and Escudo models.

Lexus RX Japan January 2016. Picture courtesy response.jpThe new RX pushes Lexus to double-digit gains for the third straight month. Picture

All other Japanese brands except Toyota (+4%) were down this month, including Honda (-20%) and Nissan (-11%). Mercedes (-10%) remains the most popular foreign carmaker but steps outside the overall Top 10 with 4.120 sales, distancing Volkswagen at 2.993 (-20%), BMW at 2.590 (+18%) and Audi at 1.530 (-16%). Mini gains 13%, Volvo 34%, Porsche 70% and Smart 1170%.

Mazda Demio Black Leather Limited Japan January 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpMazda Demio Black Leather Limited. Picture 

The Toyota Prius is again the best selling model in Japan at 21.036 units (+88%) since the December debut of its fourth generation. Sales of its smaller brother, the Aqua, are subsequently down (-36%) but still good enough for #2 at 12.720 units. The new Sienta (+889%) continues its stellar success story from 2015 as the new model places again at #3 for another all-Toyota podium. The Mazda Demio leaps 19 places to #6 this month thanks to the release of its “Black Leather Limited” edition and the Toyota Land Cruiser more than doubles its sales year-on-year (+101%) thanks to its facelift.

Nissan Leaf Japan January 2016. Picture courtesy response.jpThe Nissan Leaf breaks into its home Top 30 for the second time ever this month. Picture

Making its second ever appearance in the Top 30 at home is the Nissan Leaf (+151%) thanks to a minor facelift and larger 30 kWh battery which helped it get very close to its monthly record established in February 2011 (2.503 units vs. 2.593), the only other time it ranked inside the Japanese Top 30 (#25). Over in the Kei car rankings, the refreshed Daihatsu Tanto is again #1 with 15.200 units (+22%) while the Honda N-BOX and Nissan Dayz both hold onto the #2 and #3 spots respectively. The Suzuki Hustler received some minor updates and as a result climbs 4 places to #5 pushing its new rival, the Daihatsu Cast, down to #9.

Previous post: Japan Full Year 2015: Toyota Aqua leads, tax hike hurt kei cars

Previous month: Japan December 2015: New Gen pushes Toyota Prius back to #1

One year ago: Japan January 2015: Toyota Aqua triumphs thanks to facelift

Full January 2016 Top 50 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars below.

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