Toyota’s Prius hybrid ranked as Japan’s top-selling car in 2010 with annual sales hitting an all-time high, bucking the fallout from a series of massive global recalls, an auto industry group said Tuesday.
Toyota Motor Corp. sold a record 315,669 Prius cars in its home market last year, up 51 percent from 2009, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.
The world’s No. 1 automaker has recalled more than 11 million vehicles worldwide, including the Prius, since late 2009 due to acceleration and braking problems.
But Japanese sales of the gasoline-electric hybrid Prius soared to an all-time high last year thanks to government subsidies and tax breaks for eco-friendly cars, the association said.
“The Prius was hugely popular among consumers. Its sales were boosted by subsidies and tax breaks for green cars,” said association spokesman Michiro Saito. Japan doled out government subsidies for eco-friendly cars like the Prius from April 2009 to September 2010.
The government will keep tax breaks aimed at boosting demand for green cars until April 2012.
Prius sales last year broke Japan’s annual sales record for a single model. The previous record was 300,008 units by Toyota’s Corolla in 1990.
The Prius hybrid went on sale for the first time in 1997, beating rivals as the first mass-produced hybrid car with over two million sold worldwide at the end of November last year, according to Toyota.