• Kyodo


Toyota Motor Corp.’s Aqua hybrid hatchback remained the nation’s top-selling car for the fifth straight month in February, selling 24,526 units, up 11.7 percent from a year earlier, industry bodies said Wednesday.

The automaker’s Prius hybrid hatchback took the No. 2 slot with sales of 23,473 units, down 34.6 percent, followed by Honda Motor Co.’s N Box minicar with sales coming to 22,353 units, up 8.8 percent, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

The N Box was the No. 2 seller in January.

Small cars and minivehicles, which are cheaper and have lower maintenance costs, sold well in the reporting month, when overall new vehicle sales were anemic due to the halt of government subsidies for purchases of eco-friendly vehicles in September.

Fourth place went to Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Move minicar, and Suzuki Motor Corp.’s Wagon R minicar was fifth.

Minivehicles with engines of up to 660cc accounted for five of the 10 best-selling vehicles in February.

Nissan Motor Corp.’s Serena minivan, fitted with a simple hybrid propulsion system, made its way onto the top-10 list with sales of 11,148 units, up 5.6 percent.

Import sales up 3.7%

Sales of new imported vehicles, including those built abroad by Japanese automakers, rose 3.7 percent in February from a year earlier to 25,745 units, an industry body said Wednesday.

Of the total, sales of Japanese-brand vehicles gained 1.0 percent to 6,576 units, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association.

Sales of foreign-brand cars, trucks and buses increased 4.7 percent to 19,169 vehicles.

By brand, the top three automakers remained unchanged from January.

Volkswagen retained the top spot, selling 5,627 units for a 21.9 percent market share, while Nissan ranked second with sales of 3,610 units for a 14.0 percent share, followed by Mercedes-Benz, which sold 3,156 units for a 12.3 percent share.

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