Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Honda Motor Co.’s N-Box minivehicle came first in new car sales rankings in Japan in 2017, capturing the annual top slot for the first time, industry data showed Thursday.
The N-Box, whose sales totaled 218,478 units, climbed from the second position in the previous year’s rankings. Its new model, featuring cutting-edge safety gears, was released in autumn last year.
This is the first time for any Honda model to take the top ranking since 2002, when the automaker’s Fit subcompact was the best-selling car.
In the 2017 rankings, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid came second, with sales of 160,912 units, followed by Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Move minivehicle, with 141,373 units.
Six of the top 10 models were minivehicles, which have engine displacements of up to 660 cc.
Among models of Nissan Motor Co., the Note subcompact ranked fifth (138,905 units) and the Dayz minivehicle came sixth (137,514 units).
Although sales of Nissan cars slumped in October-December 2017, after the company’s inspection irregularities came to light in late September that year, the two models managed to make it into the top 10 in the annual chart thanks to their brisk sales in the first three quarters.
Imports hit 21-year high
In related news, sales of imported foreign-brand vehicles in Japan in 2017 increased 3.7 percent from the previous year to 306,088 units, hitting a 21-year high, industry data showed Thursday.
The figure was highest since the record high of some 320,000 units scored in 1996, according to the data released by the Japan Automobile Importers Association.
The robust result was led by the launches of clean diesel vehicle models with improved environmental performance, the association said. The 2017 sales represented the second straight annual growth, topping 300,000 units for the first time since 1997.
Imported foreign-brand vehicles accounted for 9.0 percent of the total new vehicles sold in Japan, excluding minivehicles.
Models priced between ¥4 million and ¥10 million sold well, backed by the economic recovery.
Mercedes-Benz remained the top-selling brand with sales of 68,221 units, followed by BMW (52,527 units) and Volkswagen (49,040 units).