2014 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Models

Toyota at Geneva Auto Show 2014In 2014, the Toyota Aqua was again the top-selling car model in Japan. The Honda Fit took second place from the Prius with the evergreen Corolla fourth. The Japanese car market expanded by 3.5% to just over 5.5 million new vehicle registrations in 2014.

Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2014 (Full Year)

The 30 top-selling car models in Japan in 2014 according to new passenger vehicle registration statistics released by JADA were:

Rank 2013 Rank 2014 Model Brand 2014 Sales % Change
1 1 Aqua Toyota 233,209 -11.1
3 2 Fit Honda 202,838 11.8
2 3 Prius Toyota 183,614 -27.6
5 4 Corolla Toyota 114,331 12.5
16 5 Voxy Toyota 109,174 160.4
4 6 Note Nissan 106,765 -27.3
7 Vezel Honda 96,029 4,351.10
7 8 Vitz Toyota 89,496 4.2
6 9 Serena Nissan 76,909 -20.2
22 10 Noah Toyota 69,605 115.5
11 Harrier Toyota 64,920 3,363.70
9 12 Freed Honda 54,313 -20.6
25 13 X-TRAIL Nissan 53,736 90.6
15 14 Passo Toyota 49,770 16.3
8 15 Crown Toyota 49,166 -40.5
14 16 Demio Mazda 48,564 11.5
11 17 Impreza Subaru 45,841 -21.3
10 18 Step WGN Honda 42,743 -31.3
19 Axela Mazda 42,527 136.4
17 20 Swift Suzuki 39,382 -3.8
13 21 Supeido Toyota 38,733 -20.3
12 22 VELLFIRE Toyota 36,734 -27.4
24 23 Solio Suzuki 32,857 8.5
24 Odyssey Honda 32,749 120.9
25 Levorg Subaru 30,258 New
18 26 CX-5 Mazda 29,466 -23.5
23 27 Porte Toyota 26,648 -15.8
19 20 Forrester Subaru 25,921 -24.3
21 29 Alphard Toyota 25,863 -23.4
20 30 Estima Toyota 25,688 -26.4

The list does not include Kei minicars, which are hugely popular in Japan.

Top-Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2014

Japanese car buyers are notoriously fickle with the launching of new models (and the aging of old ones) having a strong influence in the number of cars sold. Wide swings are often the norm when a new model is imminent.

However, at the top, the same three models have been the best-selling cars for several years now. In 2014, for the second consecutive year, the Toyota Aqua was Japan’s favorite car model. Sales of the Aqua (Prius C in some overseas markets) contracted by 11%. The first minor updates of the model, which has been on sale since early 2012, were made only at the end of 2014.

The Honda Fit (Jazz in some overseas markets) was the only model amongst the top three to have increased sales in Japan in 2014. The third generation of the Fit was launched in Japan in September 2013.

Sales of the Toyota Prius were down by more than a quarter in Japan in 2014. The current Prius was launched in 2009 – in 2010, it was the most-sold car ever in Japanese history when it sold 315,000 cars in a single calendar year.

The evergreen Toyota Corolla moved up from fifth to fourth while the Nissan Note lost a quarter of sales and slipped from fourth to sixth.

The most-improved car models were the Toyota Voxy and its sister model Noah. These eight-seater minivans have been enormously popular in Japan and the new models allowed the Voxy to improve from 16th to 5th and Noah from 22nd to 10th.

The Honda Vezel (HR-V in some international markets) is a small SUV crossover. Although very well received, the increase in sales reflects that the car was launched towards the end of 2013.

The Toyota Vitz (Yaris in overseas markets) slipped one place despite stronger sales while the Nissan Serena slipped three places with sales down by a fifth.

A few further salient features from the top-selling car models in Japan in 2014:

  • The cars slipping out of the top-10 list of best-selling car models in Japan in 2014 were the Toyota Crown (from 8th), Honda Freed (9 th) and Honda Step WGN (10th).
  • The Toyota Crown was the worst performer. The Crown is very popular with chauffeurs and taxi drivers in Japan and got a huge boost at the beginning of 2013 when a new model was launched.
  • The Toyota Harrier is a large SUV similar to the Lexus RX – its 10th place is remarkably high for a large car not particularly needed on Japan’s carpet smooth roads.

The top-selling car brand in Japan in 2014 was again Toyota – partly confirmed by having 6 of the top 10 most-popular car models.