• Kyodo


Suzuki Motor Corp.’s WagonR became the nation’s best-selling car in May for the first time in two years and the first minicar to take first place in two years, according to industry data released Monday.

The WagonR’s rise to the top seems to be driven by how the company and its parts suppliers are concentrated in Shizuoka Prefecture, which was less affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami than other carmakers, which saw their supply chains disrupted because many of their vendors are based in the quake-hit Tohoku region, industry observers say.

The WagonR was the only car to generate more than 10,000 unit sales in May with 11,186, down 22.7 percent from a year earlier.

Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Move, another minicar with an engine displacement of up to 660cc, ranked second at 9,402 units, up 6.6 percent. The Osaka-based firm’s manufacturing base is in western Japan, which allowed it to come out of the temblor relatively unscathed.

Honda Motor Co.’s Fit subcompact came in third at 9,354 units, down 21.3 percent, after staying atop the rankings for two months in a row.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid dropped to sixth place, with sales plummeting 76.1 percent to 6,491 units.

Daihatsu’s Tanto minicar ranked fourth at 9,267, down 31.2 percent, while Toyota’s Vitz subcompact came fifth at 7,867, down 14.5 percent.

Of the vehicles that made the top 10, three were Daihatsu cars. Suzuki, Honda and Toyota appeared on the list with two models each.

Among major automakers, Nissan Motor Co. also made the list with its Serena minivan, which sold 5,766 units, down 5.6 percent.

The rankings were compiled based on the latest reports from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

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