Aqua tops domestic new car sales tally for second consecutive month

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp.’s hybrid Aqua topped the new car sales rankings in November for a second straight month, selling 26,346 units, industry bodies said Thursday.

Its Prius hybrid ranked second at 22,039 vehicles, down 35.5 percent from a year earlier but rising a spot from October, while Honda Motor Co.’s N BOX minivehicle dropped a notch to third place at 16,406 units.

New low-priced models with improved fuel efficiency sold well, with sales of Nissan Motor Co.’s small Note, which was reworked for an all-new model in September, nearly tripling from a year earlier to 10,361. Honda’s N-ONE minicar, launched in November, ranked eighth at 9,674 vehicles, making the top-10 list in its first month.

Sales of existing models were slow due to the end of a government subsidy program for purchases of environmentally safer cars in September.

Of the 10 best-selling cars, six were minivehicles with engines no larger than 660cc.

The rankings are based on the latest data from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

Meanwhile, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Thursday sales of new imported vehicles in Japan, including those built abroad by Japanese automakers, rose 14.8 percent in November from a year earlier to 26,503 units.

Of the total, sales of Japanese-brand vehicles gained 29.9 percent to 6,767 units, buoyed by Thai-assembled models, including Nissan Motor Co.’s Latio compact sedan released in October and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s Mirage small car, the association said.

Sales of foreign-brand cars, trucks and buses rose 10.4 percent to 19,736 units.

Volkswagen retained the top spot with sales of 4,584 units, securing a 17.3 percent market share. BMW ranked second with 3,377 units and a 12.7 percent share, followed by Mercedes-Benz, which sold 3,096 units for an 11.7 percent share.