May 11, 2009 / 3:54 AM / in 8 years

Honda Insight first hybrid to rank top in Japan

<p>Honda's humanoid robot "Asimo" unveils the new Honda Insight hybrid car during the first media day of the 79th Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo in Geneva March 3, 2009. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud</p>

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co said on Monday its new Insight model became the first hybrid to be crowned Japan’s best-selling car last month.

The Insight went on sale in Japan in early February as Honda’s first real attempt to challenge Toyota Motor Corp’s dominance in the gasoline-electric hybrid segment.

A ranking of Japan’s top 30 excluding 660cc minivehicles announced by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association showed the Insight selling 10,481 units in April, catapulting it from 21st place in March.

The car, whose main sell is its affordability with a price tag starting at 1.89 million yen ($19,190), was followed by Honda’s Fit subcompact.

Toyota’s Vitz subcompact ranked third. Other Honda and Toyota models comprised the top 10 list.

Toyota’s flagship hybrid, the Prius, came in 21st ahead of the launch of its successor third-generation version on May 18.

Honda was the only domestic brand to see its car sales rise in April from the year before.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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