Photo: Michael (mx5tx), Flickr, CC
Who'd Have Thunk It 10 Years Ago?
The Toyota Prius hybrid has been on fire (not literally) in its home market of Japan ever since it was redesigned for the 2010 model year. It has been the #1 best-selling car in the land of the rising sun for the past 18 months, and it even won "Car of the Year" for 2010. But few would have predicted that the Prius would beat the 20-year old record set by the Corolla for most sales in Japan in a calendar year!
Photo: sskennel, Flickr, CC
It looks almost like a done-deal for the Prius:
Toyota sold 297,563 Priuses in its home market in the first 11 months of the year. That January-November number is just 2,445 short of the country's record annual sales by model of 300,008 vehicles logged by the Corolla in 1990, and as the Nikkei business daily suggests, even allowing for an industry-wide sales slowdown, the Corolla record is about to be overtaken, since Toyota has sold at least 20,000 Prius cars every month this year so far. (source)
What's even more impressive about that is that when the Corolla set its record, total vehicle sales in Japan for that year were 7.78 million, while this year is gearing up for only 5.0 million. The Corolla will keep holding the cumulative sales record, though, but it has been around a lot longer than the Prius. Who knows how well the Prius badge will sell in 20 years?
This isn't likely to happen again next year unless the generous government incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles are renewed, but maybe we'll see a repeat when Toyota comes out with the plug-in Prius (when converted to US gallons and US dollars, the price of gas in Japan is above $5/gallon).
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