Home > Japan > Japan 2009: Toyota Prius takes off, #1 at 200,000+ sales

Japan 2009: Toyota Prius takes off, #1 at 200,000+ sales

Toyota Prius

2009 will be remembered as key in the history of Japan and world automobile. It is the year the Toyota Prius replaced the Corolla as Toyota’s core sales and profits enabler in Japan. It is also the first time a hybrid model took the reins of any car market in the world.

The second generation Prius, launched in 2003, had impressed by its constant progression all the way up to last year when it landed #5 at +22%. The launch of the 3rd generation in May 09 was the coup the grace that propelled the Prius to the Japanese pole position. It shot to #1 in May and never looked back, peaking at 31,759 units in September, ending the year at 208,876 sales.

As a result, the Corolla, operating in the same size category, suffered a massive blow: it dropped 37% to 6th and 90,178 sales, and even ranked 15th in September, its weakest level since the launch of the Corolla nameplate in 1966… For the first time since 1968 the Corolla is not the best selling Toyota in Japan, and the Prius is now the default Toyota model in the country.

Honda Insight

The other significant event of 2009, decidedly the year of the hybrid, is the February launch of the ‘Prius-killer’ from Honda, the Insight. For its 3rd month of sales, it managed to rank #1 in April, however dropped to #3 with the arrival of the new gen Prius, and except from one showing in December never managed to climb onto the podium again, finishing the year in 5th place with 93,283 sales.

Honda Fit

The Honda Fit slips down a reasonable 10% in 2nd place with 157,324 sales, followed by the Toyota Vitz at -5%. The Toyota Passo has an excellent year in 4th at +36%, and the Honda Freed confirms last year’s good start to rank #7.

Full Top 30 Ranking Table below.

Japan Full Year 2009:

Pos Model 2009 09/08 2008 Pos
1 Toyota Prius 208,876 186% 73,110 5
2 Honda Fit 157,324 -10% 174,910 1
3 Toyota Vitz 117,655 -5% 123,337 3
4 Toyota Passo 98,883 36% 72,767 7
5 Honda Insight 93,283 new 0  –
6 Toyota Corolla 90,178 -37% 144,051 2
7 Honda Freed 79,525 57% 50,646 16
8 Nissan Serena 78,836 8% 72,927 6
9 Toyota Voxy 71,426 2% 70,165 8
10 Nissan Note 65,745 5% 62,704 11
11 Toyota Wish 60,357 54% 39,292 22
12 Nissan Cube 59,760 26% 47,295 17
13 Nissan Tiida 57,624 -12% 65,302 9
14 Mazda Demio 55,603 -14% 64,990 10
15 Toyota Noah 52,933 -8% 57,477 14
16 Toyota Estima 52,403 -10% 58,463 13
17 Toyota Vellfire 49,636 27% 38,969 23
18 Suzuki Swift 46,159 -22% 58,950 12
19 Toyota Ractis 45,169 -13% 51,694 15
20 Honda StepWGN 43,020 -3% 44,441 20
21 Toyota Crown 40,216 -46% 74,904 4
22 Nissan X-Trail 32,627 3% 31,710 29
23 Toyota Sienta 31,805 -9% 34,809 25
24 Nissan March 31,433 -33% 46,686 18
25 Toyota Alphard 29,602 -34% 45,119 19
26 Subaru Legacy 28,260 7% 26,361 32
27 Honda Stream 27,058 -35% 41,399 21
28 Mazda Axela 26,761 61% 16,621  –
29 Toyota Premio 25,337 -21% 32,044 28
30 Toyota Mark X 24,635 -36% 38,748 24

Source: JADA

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