The Honda Jazz (known as the Fit in many markets) has outsold the Toyota Prius and the Aqua hybrids in Japan in October taking up the top spot in the market after a two year long wait. The last time the Jazz managed to become the best seller in Japan was back in 2011 amidst the Tsunami and earthquake that hit the country on every front.
The all new Honda Jazz was launched recently in September this year and has been well received by the fans and critics alike. Honda sold 23,281 units of the Fit hatchback while Toyota managed 20,886 units for the Prius and 19,984 units for the Aqua (dubbed as the Prius C for the North American market) respectively. Honda also recorded an overwhelming 150 percent of growth compared to last year on the Jazz, while the Prius managed 15 percent steady year on year growth. The data was compiled by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA) and the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association.
Behind the Jazz’ success has been the introduction of the all new model that came after six years from its predecessor. The hybrid version of the Jazz has been touted as one of the best hybrids in the world, achieving a fuel economy of 36.4 km/l. Japanese have favoured hybrid vehicles and sales of these efficient hybrids have been brisk. The two Toyota’s gasoline-electric models have alternated as the top-selling car in Japan until last month.
This is not the first time, the Honda Jazz has dethroned Toyota. Back in 2002, the Jazz topped the sales chart over the Corolla ending the 22 years of Corolla reign in the segment, and did so again in 2008. The rise of Jazz back then showed the changing of times and customer perception of welcoming new products. Over the years, the perception once again has changed with the rising fuel prices making fuel economy a priority in purchase decisions, thus hybrids have been so well accepted in the market.
Even with Honda’s growth with the Jazz, the Prius is still at the top spot as far as total number of sales for 2013 goes. Honda managed to gain an overall 62,000 bookings including deliveries for the Jazz, four times more than what they anticipated. So we may see 2014 as the year of Honda if the numbers remain steady like now. The market has seen wide acceptance for foreign products as well in the Japanese market. Volkswagen registered year on year growth of 14.9 percent, while Mercedes-Benz grew at 66.1 percent and BMW at 29.5 percent.
Honda will be introducing the new Jazz in India next year, after the launch of the 2014 City, to be unveiled later this month. The 3rd generation Jazz will be a completely new model with upgrades on the exteriors and interiors as well. The powertrain will also be updated with both petrol and diesel engines on offer. Expect the 1.5-litre diesel mill from the Amaze to do duty on the new Jazz and City.