2010 Japan: Best-Selling Car Models

The Toyota Prius, Honda Fit, and Toyota Vitz were the best-selling car models in Japan in 2010. New passenger car registrations in Japan increased by 10%.

Toyota Prius 2010
Toyota Prius © Toyota Motor Co

The Toyota Prius was the most popular car model in Japan in 2010 and recorded the highest annual sales ever for a single car model in Japan. The Prius easily outsold the Honda Fit, which was the second most-sold car in Japan for the second year running. The Toyota Vitz was again third on the list of best-selling cars in Japan in 2010. Toyota was again the top automobile manufacturer in Japan in 2010, selling almost three times more cars than second-place brand Honda.

List of the Top 20 Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2010

Car sales statistics released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA) list the top twenty best-selling cars by model in Japan in 2010 as:

• Car Brand & Model Cars Sold % Change from 2009
1. Toyota Prius 315,669 51.1
2. Honda Fit 185,439 17.7
3. Toyota Vitz 122,248 3.9
4. Toyota Corolla 111,265 23.4
5. Honda Freed 95,123 19.6
6. Toyota Passo 89,373 -9.6
7. Honda Stepwagon 80,934 88.1
8. Nissan Serena 75,040 -4.8
9. Toyota Voxy 72,163 1
10. Nissan Note 66,347 0.9
11. Mazda Demio 65,949 18.6
12. Toyota Vellfire 61,015 22.9
13. Toyota Wish 59,447 -1.5
14. Toyota Noah 56,955 7.6
15. Nissan Cube 54,406 -9
16. Toyota Estima 50,053 -4.5
17. Nissan March 49,193 56.5
18. Nissan Tiida 46,825 -18.7
19. Toyota Ractis 46,540 3
20. Suzuki Swift 44,589 -3.4

Changes in the List of Top 20 Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2010

The top of the best-selling car models list in Japan showed little change in 2010. For the second year running, the Toyota Prius topped the list and was followed by the Honda Fit and Toyota Vitz. (As usual, JADA does not include minicar (kei) in the car sales statistics.)

The Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid car, easily maintained its position as Japan’s best-selling car model in 2010 with a more than fifty percent increase in the number of vehicles sold. The Prius in 2010 broke the Japanese record for the highest number of cars sold by a single model in a calendar year. The previous record of 300,008 cars sold was held by the Toyota Corolla since 1990.

The smaller Honda Fit (Jazz in some overseas markets) was Japan’s favorite car in 2008 and despite being available in hybrid versions lost ground to the Prius. The Toyota Vitz (Yaris in most overseas markets) was again the third best-selling car in Japan. The Toyota Corolla – for decades the most popular car in Japan – improved sales by almost a quarter to move up the list to fourth from sixth position in 2009.

Of the top-selling cars in Japan, the Honda Stepwagon improved the most by selling almost double as many cars in 2010 to shoot up the rankings from position 20 to seventh. Honda also had the worst performer – the Insight, once a competitor of the Prius, dropped from fifth place in 2009 to 23 in 2010.

The only new entrant on the top 20 list of best-selling cars in Japan in 2010 was the Nissan March. After a model change, Nissan March sales improved by over fifty percent.

Cars made by Toyota, Honda, and Nissan dominated the list of 20 top-selling cars in Japan in 2010. The Mazda Demio (position 11) and Suzuki Swift (position 18) were the only cars by other manufacturers making it into the top twenty.

Toyota was similarly by far the strongest car manufacturer in Japan in 2010 and followed by Honda and Nissan. In other markets, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, both Toyota and Honda had weak sales in 2010.

Although car sales in Japan in 2010 were 10% up on 2009 car sales, the Japanese automobile market was very weak during the second half of the year when government subsidy programs ran out. The new car market in Japan in 2011 is expected to be challenging.