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Friday, 5th June 2009
In Business In Japan,

Eco-friendly Japanese cars surge in popularity

Japanese automakers are finding solace from the recession in the surging sales of eco-friendly hybrid cars.

Toyota's new model Prius hybrid was the number one selling car in Japan in May, selling 10,915 units despite being released midway through the month.

It was the second month in a row that a hybrid has topped the Japanese sales chart, with Honda's Insight outselling all rivals in April.

Despite a poor overall financial performance in the last year, Toyota has enjoyed success with its Prius brand, selling more than 1.25 million units to become the top seller among hybrid cars.

Responding to the car's success, Toyota's Akihiko Otsuka, the chief engineer of the Prius, said that he is "not pessimistic" about future sales as consumer interest in vehicle purchasing may be returning.

The Prius has been on sale since 2004 and in the UK achieved the top ranking in the JD Power Customer Satisfaction Index Study in 2007 and 2008.

Written by Graham McPherson

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