2012 (Half Year) Best-Selling Car Models in Japan

The Toyota Prius remained the most popular car in Japan during the first half of 2012. The Honda Fit and Toyota Aqua were also top sellers.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid at the Geneva Auto Salon 2012

During the first six months of 2012, the Toyota Prius continued to be the best-selling car model in Japan. The Honda Fit was again the second most popular car but is losing ground to the new Toyota Aqua. In a very strong market, the Toyota Vitz was the only car model to sell fewer in Japan during the first half of 2012.

The first half of 2012 saw 2,947,357 new vehicle registrations – an increase of 54% over the crisis year 2011 and the highest for several years.

Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2012 (First Half)

The ten most popular cars in Japan during the first six months of 2012 according to car sales statistics released by JADA were:

Manufacturer / Car Brand 2012 Jan-Jun 2012 % Change  2012
  April May June Q1 Q2
1 Toyota Prius 21906 20789 28456 181630 118 110479 71151
2 Honda Fit 16160 14534 22068 133345 51 80583 52762
3 Toyota Aqua 18481 20091 25079 128243 New 64592 63651
4 Honda Freed 7828 8142 11067 70629 112 43592 27037
5 Toyota Vitz 6619 7789 12026 64786 -2 38355 26434
6 Nissan Serena 5218 7012 8662 53106 36 32214 20892
7 Toyota Vellfire 4730 5118 5765 38,100 156 22487 15613
8 Toyota Corolla 3331 4008 7904 37370 22 22127 15243
9 Honda Stepwagon 3541 5745 8626 36190 43 18278 17912
10 Mazda Demio 3692 5175 5699 34922 36 20356 14566

(% Change from first half 2011)

Top Ten Best-Selling Cars List in Japan in 2012 (Half Year)

The Toyota Prius has been the best-selling car model for several years in Japan despite the relatively small model range and the car being only available as a hybrid. Although the Honda Fit (Jazz in many markets) maintained its second place for the first half of 2012, it was easily outsold by the Toyota Aqua during the second quarter of the year.

The Toyota Aqua, a new car launched in December 2011, is smaller than the Prius but also available as a hybrid car only. It is becoming the Prius’s strongest competitor and came close to outselling the bigger model during some months during the second quarter of the year.

With the exception of the Toyota Vitz (Yaris in many markets), all models easily sold more cars during the first half of 2012 compared to a year ago. The Vitz no doubt lost many sales to the new Aqua. The conservative Toyota Corolla, long the best-selling car in Japan and indeed the world, is still on the top-ten list of best-selling cars despite using technology much less exciting than what is available on the Prius and Aqua.

Compared to the first quarter of 2012, the Toyota Vellfire and Honda Stepwagon – both minibus vans – were the only new entrants on the top-ten list. The Nissan Note and Toyota Voxy dropped off the top list.

New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan during the second quarter of 2012 were much slower than the first quarter. For the best-selling cars, only the Toyota Aqua came close to selling as many cars during the second quarter as during the first.

For the first half of 2012, Toyota easily remained the top-selling car manufacturer in Japan.

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.