Japan has overtaken the US as the world’s largest market for hyrbid sales after the successful launches of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.
In the US last month, hybrid sales totalled 26,205 units, while in Japan the third-generation Toyota Prius sold 22,292 units and the new Honda Insight sold 8782 units. Sales of these two cars alone were enough for Japan to become the world’s largest hybrid market.
Hybrid sales have performed strongly in Japan due to their exemption from certain taxes, high petrol prices and the fact there are new models available. Hybrids now account for one in every eight cars sold in the country.
In 2006, hybrid sales in the US were four times more than in Japan, but falling fuel prices there have seen sales decline.
There is now a seven-month waiting list for the Toyota Prius and production has been increased in Japan to keep up with the high demand.