The Toyota Prius was again Japan’s best-selling car model in 2017 despite weaker sales. The Honda N-Box was the favorite mini car (kei) of Japanese car buyers.
The Toyota Prius was Japan’s best-selling passenger car in 2017 despite sales contracting by a third. The Nissan Note replaced the Toyota Aqua as the second most-popular car model in Japan. The Honda N-Box was the top-selling mini car (kei) in Japan in 2017 and sold in higher volumes than the Prius.
New passenger car registrations, excluding mini cars (kei), released by JADA identified the following as the 30 favorite car models of the Japanese in 2017:
|Brand||Model||Sales in 2017||% Change|
Japan’s favorite car model in 2017 was again the Toyota Prius. The Prius managed to retain the top spot for the second consecutive year even though sales were down by just more than a third.
In contrast, sales of the Nissan Note was up by more than a third to improve from fifth to second – the highest placing for the Note ever.
As with the Prius, sales of the smaller Toyota Aqua were also noticeably weaker with the Aqua slipping from second to third. The Aqua was the top-seller in Japan from 2013 to 2015.
The new Toyota C-HR was very well received by the Japanese car buyers and finished its first full year on the market as the fourth most-popular car model. The C-HR, a small crossover SUV, is a completely new car for Toyota and not replacing an earlier model.
The second generation of the Honda Freed was similarly well received with sales doubled to improved from 16th last year to 5th in 2017. The C-HR and Freed were the only new entrants on the top-ten list of best-selling cars in Japan in 2017.
Sales of the Honda Fit were weaker and the Fit lost another two sales rank positions,
Sales of the Toyota Sienta were down by a quarter and the model slipped from third to 7th. In contrast, Toyota Vitz sales were up by a quarter and two rank positions.
Weaker sales forced the Toyota Voxy down from 6th to 9th while the Nissan Serena moved down one position despite higher sales.
Toyota had two further new models on the top-20 list: the delightfully (or ironically?) named Roomy and Tank. These twins, or actually quadruplets as the cars are produced by Daihatsu and also sold as the Daihatsu Thor and Subaru Justy, are sold through different outlets in Japan. Together, the sales of these two twin cars would have placed it in second position behind the Prius.
The 15 most-popular mini cars (Kei) in Japan in 2017 according to sales data released by Zenkeijkyo were:
|Brand||Model||Sales in 2017||Sales in 2016||% Change|
Mini cars (kei-jidousya) in Japan are vehicles defined by amongst others being shorter than 3.4 m with a maximum height of 2 m and a maximum width of 1.48 m. The engine capacity is restricted to 0.66 l measured by the Japanese standard.
The Honda N-Box was the most-popular mini car in Japan for the second consecutive year in 2017. The second generation of the body N-Box was launched during the third quarter of 2017.
The Daihatsu Move moved up two placed to second with sales up by 38%. The Daihatsu Tant slipped from second to third by sales down by 9%. The Nissan Days slipped on rank position despite increasing sales by a third.
The Suzuki Wagon R moved into fifth place with sales up by more than 40%. The sixth generation of this popular mini car was launched early in 2017.
In Japan, sales of mini cars (kei) and regular passenger cars are traditionally listed separately. If combined, half of the top ten most popular car models in Japan would be mini cars:
Toyota, which is only a minor player in the mini car market but very well represented through Daihatsu, was again by far the largest motor vehicle manufacturer in Japan in 2017.