2012 (Q3) Japan: Best-Selling Car Models

The Toyota Prius remains the best-selling car model in Japan for the first nine months of 2012. The Toyota Aqua outsold the Honda Fit to become the second most popular car in Japan.

Red Toyota Prius
Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

The Toyota Prius was again the most popular car in Japan during the first three quarters of 2012. The Toyota Aqua became the second best-selling car model in Japan by pushing the Honda Fit down to third position. The Toyota Vellfire dropped out of the top ten list while the Nissan Note allowed Nissan a second car in the top ten best-sellers list in Japan for the first nine months of 2012.

The total Japanese vehicle market (January to September 2012) was 4,277,944 vehicles, an increase of 38.7% over the same period in 2011.

The Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2012 (Q3)

Car sales statistics released by JADA show the following ten car models leading the new passenger vehicle registrations list for the period January to September 2012:

Q1+2+3 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q2+3 % Change
1 Toyota Prius 260,947 110,479 71,151 79,317 150,468 32.9
2 Toyota Aqua 195,632 64,592 63,651 67,389 131,040 Dec ’11
3 Honda Fit 182,258 80,583 52,762 48,913 101,675 1.8
4 Honda Freed 92,397 43,592 27,037 21,768 48,805 75.1
5 Toyota Vitz 90,191 38,355 26,434 25,402 51,833 -12.1
6 Nissan Serena 81,057 32,214 20,892 27,951 48,843 19.8
7 Toyota Corolla 63,607 22,127 15,243 26,237 41,480 25.9
8 Nissan Note 55,114 22,162 11,968 21,004 32,972 40.6
9 HondaStepwagon 53,266 18,278 17,912 17,076 34,988 87.1
10 Mazda Demio 49,794 20,356 14,566 14,872 29,438 -12.4

% Change compares April to September 2012 with October 2011 to March 2012.

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2012 (Q3)

The Toyota Prius continues to be the most popular car model in Japan. Thus far, the Prius was the best-selling car model every month in 2012 but it is increasingly coming under pressure from the smaller Toyota Aqua. The Aqua is like the Prius a hybrid-only model but smaller and cheaper.

The Toyota Aqua was only launched in December 2011. Although Toyota sold 65,000 more Prius than Aqua cars during the first nine months of 2012, the difference between these two models was only 52 cars in September.

The Aqua pushed the Honda Fit into third place. Sales of the Honda Fit, which is available in petrol and hybrid versions, have been falling sharply in Japan during the third quarter of 2012. The Fit was introduced in Japan in 2007 and will be due for replacement next year.

Sales of the second generation of the Nissan Note started in September 2012, which allowed the Note to be the third most popular car in Japan during that month. It also boosted the Nissan Note from eleventh most popular car in Japan in mid-2012 to eighth most popular year to date. The Toyota Vellfire slipped to eleventh position as a result.

Other cars in the top-ten list of most popular new passenger vehicles in Japan remained the same. The Toyota Vitz is clearly suffering at the hand of the very popular Aqua. The evergreen Toyota Corolla remains present in the top 10 list. The aging Mazda Demio saw sales slipping – like the Honda Fit, the Demio has been on the market since 2007.

JADA car sales statistics exclude foreign-made cars – which are not amongst the top ten best-selling car models in Japan anyway – and also minicars (Kei), which are amongst the most popular vehicles in Japan.