2012 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Models

The Toyota Prius was again the best-selling car model in Japan in 2012. The Toyota Aqua replaced the Honda Fit as the second most popular car in Japan.

Red Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius – again Japan’s favorite car. Photo: Toyota Mo Co

In 2012, for the fourth consecutive year, the Toyota Prius was the best-selling car model in Japan. The smaller hybrid-only Toyota Aqua was the second most popular car model while the Honda Fit was third. Hybrid cars remain very popular in Japan in 2012.

The total vehicle market in Japan in 2012 grew by +27.5% to 5,369,721 new vehicle registrations. This was over a million more vehicles than in 2011.

Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2012

The top 30 best-selling cars in Japan in 2012 were according to JADA car sales statistics:

Rank Manufacturer Model Cars Sold % Change
Toyota Prius 317,675 25.8
Toyota Aqua 266,567 New
Honda Fit 209,276 0.7
Honda Freed 106,316 57
Toyota Vitz 105,611 -18
Nissan Serena 96,020 13.8
Nissan Note 85,330 83.6
Toyota Corolla 80,459 13.7
Honda Stepwagon 63,707 30.6
10 Toyota Vellfire 58,513 115.1
11 Mazda Demio 57,820 -6.3
12 Toyota Passo 52,281 -3.1
13 Subaru Impreza 52,017 140.1
14 Toyota Voxy 50,539 3.9
15 Suzuki Swift 43,108 37.6
16 Toyota Ractis 43,011 -27.4
17 Toyota Alphard 41,471 133.2
18 Nissan Cube 40,680 13.8
19 Nissan March 39,694 -21
20 Toyota Estima 39,331 19.5
21 Suzuki Sorio 38,877 5.4
22 Toyota Noa 36,764 -3.4
23 Toyota Wish 36,513 -0.7
24 Mazda CX-5 35,438 New
25 Nissan Juke 33,648 -1.7
26 Toyota Crown 29,963 0.1
27 Toyota Sienta 29,926 42.6
28 Nissan X-Trail 28,325 12.8
29 Toyota Space 26,539 New
30 Subaru Legacy 26,008 16.3

Changes in the Top 10 List of Best-Selling Cars in Japan in 2012

The Toyota Prius was again the top-selling car model in Japan in 2012. 2012 was the fourth consecutive year that the Prius was Japan’s favorite car. The Prius somewhat surprisingly increased its hold over the competition by increasing sales by 26% despite the arrival of the Aqua (Prius C in some foreign markets).

The Toyota Aqua is a smaller hybrid car and introduced in December 2011. It offered strong competition to the larger Prius and was the top-selling car in Japan for the final three months of 2012.

The aging Honda Fit (Jazz in many foreign markets) slipped from second last year to the third most popular car in Japan in 2012. However, in the final three months of 2012 it was outsold by the new Nissan Note. Sales of the Fit were flat – in contrast, Honda sales overall increased by almost 50%.

The Honda Freed, a small minivan bases on the Fit, did well in 2012. It outsold the Toyota Vitz (Yaris in foreign markets), which was the third most popular car in Japan in 2011.

The Nissan Serena slipped from fourth place last year but the new Nissan Note was very well received and improved from 13th place last year. The Note was the third most popular car in Japan during the final quarter of 2012.

The evergreen Toyota Corolla slipped from fifth to eighth while the Honda Stepwagon improved two places from last year. Several large minivans are on the top thirty list with the Toyota Vellfire at ten, up from 23rd a year ago.

The Mazda Demio, Toyota Passo, Toyota Rectis, and Nissan March all slipped out of the top ten list from a year ago.

Toyota was again the best-selling carmaker in Japan in 2012, followed by Honda and Daihatsu.