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Japan May 2017: Toyota Prius back to top spot, C-HR #2

Toyota Prius Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy Toyota Prius reclaims the title of best-selling vehicle in Japan. Picture

* See the Top 53 brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars by clicking on the title *

The Japanese new car market posts a very solid 12.4% year-on-year gain in May to 372.576 registrations, lifting the year-to-date tally up 8.4% to 2.305.072 units. Regular cars are up 6.1% to 237.512 but it’s kei cars that really pull the market up at +25.3% to 135.064. Partly explaining this rebound: the stop sale in April 2016 of the Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi ek, both selling no units that month. Accordingly, below Toyota up 9% to 32.4% share, Nissan catches up on lost time with a 75.7% gain to 14.2% share – also helped by the success of the Note – and Mitsubishi is up 110.9% in 8th place. Daihatsu (+25.5%) and Subaru (+28.9%) are the other winners this month. Mercedes (#10 overall) continues to top foreign carmakers above Volkswagen (-3.7%), BMW (+4%) and Audi (-13.1%). Renault (+94.1%), Smart (+70.3%) and Maserati (+58.3%) also make themselves noticed.

Toyota Alphard sales are up 65% year-on-year in May. Picture

After the Toyota C-HR historically took the lead of the models ranking last month, in May the Toyota Prius returns to the pole position for only the second time this year after last February and despite sales down 30% year-on-year. With the Nissan Note below 10.000 sales, the Prius also reclaims the year-to-date lead at 73.300 units (-36%) vs. 72.610 (+66%) for the Note. The C-HR, although not #1, remains at a very high level just under 13.000 sales in 2nd place. The Honda Freed is once again the brand’s most popular car with deliveries flying off 254% thanks to the new model. It ranks 4th this month and 5th so far this year, now getting dangerously close to toppling the Toyota Aqua year-to-date, down another 33% this month.

The new model boosts Suzuki Swift sales up 166%. Picture

The Toyota Vitz (+39%) and Subaru Impreza (+81%) lodge the other two impressive year-on-year gains inside the Top 10 whereas the Toyota Sienta struggles at -37%. Further down, the Toyota Roomy (#13) and Tank (#16) both retreat five spots on last month but remain at satisfying levels. The Honda Fit (-44%) tumbles down to #14 overall vs. #4 over the FY2016 and now desperately needs a facelift. Toyota’s MPVs are in great shape this month: the Noah is up 21%, the Vellfire up 24% and the Alphard up 65%. Other impressive gainers inside the Top 30 include the Toyota Harrier (+39%), Mazda CX-5 (+44%) and Suzuki Swift (+166%), the latter two boosted by new models.

The Daihatsu Mira is up 96% thanks to its facelift. Picture 

In the kei minicars aisle, the Honda N-BOX remains in the lead, improving 14% year-on-year to 13.118 units. The big event is the ascension of the Daihatsu Mira from #10 in April to #2 this month with sales up 97% year-on-year thanks to a long-awaited new model. The Mira stays #10 year-to-date for now. It distances this month the Move (+106%) and Nissan Dayz, the only two other kei car nameplates to post five-digit figures for the month. Helped by a new model as well, the Suzuki Wagon R gains 54% on April 2016 but drops two spots on last month to #6. The Toyota Pixis (+23%), Subaru Pleo (+44%) and Mazda Flair (+46%) also shine this month.

Previous month: Japan April 2017: Toyota C-HR climbs into pole position

One year ago: Japan May 2016: Nissan (-26%) and Mitsubishi (-51%) sink

Full May 2017 Top 53 brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars below.

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