2011 Full Year Best-Selling Car Models in Japan

The Toyota Prius, Honda Fit and Toyota Vitz remained Japan’s favorite cars in 2011 and again topped the list of best-selling car models.

Toyota Prius Family for 2012
© Toyota Motor Co

2011 was a difficult year for the Japanese car market. Despite production disruptions following natural disasters, the Toyota Prius remained Japan’s favorite car model. It was again followed by the Honda Fit and Toyota Vitz. Nissan’s Serena outsold the Corolla for fourth and fifth place respectively.

The Japanese total vehicle market in 2011 shrank by 15.1% to 4,210,220 new vehicle registrations. Toyota (-24.4%) remained the top manufacturer in Japan in 2011.

List of the Top 30 Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2011 (Full Year)

Car sales statistics released by JADA on January 11, 2012, show the following 30 car models as the most popular new passenger vehicles in Japan for the full 2011 calendar year :

Manufacturer Car Model Cars Sold in 2011 % Change from 2010
Toyota Prius 252,528 -20.0
Honda Fit 207,882 12.1
Toyota Vitz 128,725 5.3
Nissan Serena 84,359 12.4
Toyota Corolla 70,758 -37.4
Honda Freed 67,736 -28.8
Mazda Demio 61,736 -6.4
Toyota Ractis 59,207 27.2
Toyota Passo 53,974 -39.6
10 Nissan March 50,274 2.2
11 Honda Stepwagon 48,797 -39.7
12 Toyota Voxy 48,652 -32.6
13 Nissan Note 46,475 -30.0
14 Toyota Noa 38,855 -31.8
15 Suzuki Sorio 36,902 New
16 Toyota Wish 36,766 -39.2
17 Nissan Cube 35,734 -34.3
18 Nissan Juke 34,224 50.1
19 Toyota Estima 32,901 -34.3
20 Suzuki Swift 31,339 -29.7
21 Toyota Crown 29,927 -26.2
22 Nissan Tiida 27,421 -41.4
23 Toyota Vellfire 27,206 -63.4
24 Nissan X Trail 25,114 -31.9
25 Toyota Mark X 22,966 -44.0
26 Subaru Legacy 22,367 -18.4
27 Subaru Impreza 21,669 -10.0
28 Toyota Sienta 20,986 -26.1
29 Lexus CT200H 20,704 New
30 Mazda Premacy 20,434 -20.1

Source: JADA

Changes in the List of the Top Ten Best-Selling Cars in Japan in 2011

2011 was a very challenging year for Japan and the Japanese car industry. The earthquake and tsunami in March caused severe disruptions to most car manufacturers, which in some cases slowed regular production for months. Flooding in Thailand later in the year caused further problems.

Despite these problems, and a 15% slump in the overall market, the list of top selling cars in Japan remains much the same as in 2010. Although Toyota sales were down by almost a quarter, Toyota models still dominate best-sellers lists.

Toyota Prius Japan’s Favorite Car in 2011

In 2011, for the third successive year, the hybrid Toyota Prius was Japan’s favorite car. Although sales were down 20% for the full year, it should be kept in mind that the 315,669 Prius cars sold in 2010 were an all-time record for a single model in Japan. Also, the Prius family is growing with new models introduced only right at the end of 2011.

The Honda Fit (Jazz in many foreign markets) was the second most popular car in Japan in 2011 also for the third consecutive year. Although Fit sales increased, Honda (-22.2%) also had a very difficult year and slipped from second to fifth largest car producer in Japan in 2011.

The Toyota Vitz (Yaris in most foreign markets) was again third. The Nissan Serena improved from eighth to fourth at the expense of the Toyota Corolla that slipped one place with much reduced sales. However, worldwide the Toyota Corolla (or Auris in some markets) remained the world’s most popular car model with just over a million cars sold in 2011.

The Honda Freed slipped one position, while the Mazda Demio reentered the top-ten list from eleventh last year despite weaker sales. The Toyota Ractis entered the top-ten list of best-selling cars in Japan in 2011 from 19th place last year. The Toyota Passo slipped to ninth from sixth.

Nissan (-8.4%) had a relatively strong year compared to other Japanese manufacturers and the Nissan March (17th last year) rounded out the top-ten list of most popular cars in Japan in 2011.

See also The Top Car Manufacturers in Japan in 2011.