• Kyodo News

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Honda Motor Co.’s Insight hybrid hatchback, which only made its showroom debut Feb. 6, made the top-10 sales list for February with monthly sales of 4,906 units, an industry body said Thursday.

The Japan Automobile Dealers Association attributed the five-door, gasoline-electric hybrid’s entry to the list to its high fuel-economy and affordable sticker price.

The main customer groups of the Insight were middle-aged and senior drivers, as well as people with families, it said.

In contrast, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid hatchback fell to 12th from January’s fifth place with sales of 4,524 units, down 22.2 percent, according to data released by the association.

The drop in demand for the Prius was due to competition from the Insight, as well as to the economy’s overall deterioration, which has weighed heavily on the auto market, according to association officials.

The basic Insight model retails for ¥1.890 million, compared with ¥2.331 million for the basic Prius.

Orders for the Insight topped 15,000 units by the end of February, triple Honda’s monthly sales goal.

Saitama green deal

Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it has agreed with the Saitama Prefectural Government to strengthen their cooperation to preserve the environment, including by increasing the use of fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars.

Under the agreement, signed by Honda President Takeo Fukui and Saitama Gov. Kiyoshi Ueda, the two parties will also cooperate in the promotion of environmental education, with Honda dispatching instructors to programs for teaching fuel-efficient driving.

Honda’s announcement came a day after Nissan Motor Co. announced a five-year joint project with Yokohama to realize a sustainable zero-emission transportation system in the city.

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