• Kyodo News


Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid ranked first in new car sales in May, logging its 12th consecutive month at the front of the pack, data released Friday by industry groups showed.

The Prius chalked up sales of 27,208 units based on rankings compiled with data from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

Prius sales continued to benefit from government subsidies for buyers of fuel-efficient cars. The Prius hatchback was popular, even though a new model hit the market in May last year.

Suzuki Motor Corp.’s WagonR minicar ranked second with sales of 14,475 units, followed by Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Tanto minicar at 13,518 units.

All cars in the top 10 list were eligible for the government subsidy and tax break aimed at promoting sales of “green” cars. Toyota and Daihatsu each saw three products get into the top 10 list, along with two from Suzuki and one each from Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.

Imported autos rise

Sales of new imported vehicles, including those made at Japanese automakers’ overseas plants, jumped 17.1 percent in May from a year earlier to 14,691 units, rising for the seventh straight month due mainly to the popularity of new models, an industry body said Friday.

Sales of imported foreign-brand vehicles alone climbed 20.1 percent to 13,523 units, but those of Japanese-brand vehicles fell 9.5 percent to 1,168 units, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said.

By brand, Volkswagen retained the top position, with sales of 3,634 vehicles, up 28.7 percent. BMW came second with sales of 2,599 units, up 30.4 percent, followed by Mercedes-Benz at 2,061 vehicles, up 14.5 percent.

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