• Kyodo News

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Toyota Motor Corp. sold 315,669 Prius gasoline-electric hybrid cars domestically in 2010, breaking the nation’s annual sales record for a single model for the first time in 20 years, industry data showed Tuesday.

Prius sales rose 51.1 percent over 2009, making it the country’s best-selling vehicle for the second straight year, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

The previous sales record was 300,008 units posted by Toyota’s Corolla in 1990.

Brisk sales of the Prius have been attributed to the government’s incentives for the purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles and its high fuel-efficiency.

Consumers have come to place considerable emphasis on vehicles’ green credentials and high gas mileage when choosing models, association officials said.

The officials also attributed the healthy sales of the Prius to its relatively affordable retail price, compared with other hybrids.

The Prius has remained popular with consumers even after the government ended its subsidy program for environmentally friendly vehicles Sept. 7.

In the annual ranking of best-selling vehicles, Suzuki Motor Corp.’s WagonR minicar placed second with sales of 195,105 units, followed by Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Tanto mini with 191,391 units, according to data compiled by the association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

Honda Motor Co.’s Fit compact was in fourth with 185,439 units, followed by Daihatsu’s Move mini with 131,859 units.

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