• Kyodo News


Suzuki Motor Corp.’s WagonR minicar remained the country’s best-selling vehicle in fiscal 2008 for the fifth straight year, although sales dropped 7 percent from a year earlier to 208,494 units, data released by industry bodies showed Monday.

Low-priced, fuel-efficient minivehicles with engines of up to 660cc took six of the top 10 spots in the fiscal year that ended last Tuesday, according to data compiled by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Move minicar ranked second with sales of 193,358 units, down 3.3 percent, while its Tanto minicar came in third with 159,610 units, up 40.6 percent.

Honda Motor Co.’s Fit subcompact ranked fourth with sales up 2.7 percent to 152,185 units, and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Corolla passenger car came in fifth as sales fell 15.1 percent to 125,160 units. Suzuki’s Alto minicar came in 10th with 72,971 units, down 1.3 percent.

The WagonR in March retained first place for the fourth straight month, with sales up 9.8 percent to 30,262 units, followed by Daihatsu’s Move with sales of 24,515 units, down 4.8 percent.

Excluding minicars and imported vehicles, Honda’s Fit retained first place both in March and the whole of fiscal 2008 in the ranking for new car sales, outperforming Toyota’s Corolla, which came in second.

Honda’s brand-new Insight hybrid five-door hatchback, which hit the domestic market in early February, slipped to 21st place in March from last month’s 10th place with sales of 4,088 units.

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