Toyota Aqua remains best-selling car for fourth month

Kyodo, JIJI, Bloomberg

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Aqua hybrid sedan sold 22,466 units in Japan in January, up 66.6 percent from a year earlier, remaining the nation’s best-selling car for the fourth straight month, industry bodies said Wednesday.

Ranking second was Honda Motor Co.’s N Box minicar, whose sales jumped 2.1-fold to 20,552 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association said.

The Prius, another Toyota hybrid sedan, ranked third with sales at 17,733 units, down 39.1 percent.

Small cars and minivehicles, which are cheaper and have lower maintenance costs, sold well in the month, but overall new vehicle sales were sluggish due to last September’s termination of government subsidies for purchases of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Minivehicles with engines of 660cc or less accounted for 6 of the 10 best-selling vehicles.

No. 4 was Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Move minicar, boosting sales 22.5 percent after December’s launch of an improved version.

Nissan Motor Co.’s Note came in fifth place after sales tripled following its full changeover last September.

The Japan Automobile Importers Association said sales of imported foreign-brand vehicles in January rose 9.8 percent from a year before to 14,375 units, up for the ninth straight month.

Improved fuel efficiency led to the growth, with sales of those qualified for the central government’s subsidy program for eco-friendly vehicles reaching 65.3 percent of the total, the highest-ever proportion.