Honda's Insight first hybrid to rank as best-seller in Japan

The tiny kei cars still beat out the Insight, but no regular-size cars did

The tiny kei cars still beat out the Insight, but no regular-size cars did

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As forward-looking and advanced in technology as the Japanese are perceived to be, they haven't been huge adopters of hybrid technology. But this month marked a tipping point, with the Honda Insight hybrid taking the top sales rank - the first time a hybrid has ever done so in Japan.

The Insight sold 10,481 units in April - an increase of 256% over March sales, and more than double sales during its debut month of February. Honda also pulled down the #2 sales spot, the first time that Honda has taken both #1 and #2 at the same time.

The Fit was the second-best selling car in Japan in April, riding a four-month streak at the top of the charts only to be bumped by the Insight. It was still a close issue, with the Fit selling 9,443 units.

Whether the dominance of the Insight in Japan will translate into strong sales elsewhere in the world has yet to be seen. The slightly larger yet equally fuel efficient Toyota Prius could be a major threat to the Insight's sales, though until the Prius I is released, the Insight has a definite price advantage.

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