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2010 Honda Insight  (Source: Motor Authority)

2010 Toyota Prius
The cheapest hybrid on the market is now the best selling, in Japan

The hybrid price war between Honda and Toyota has been fierce, with both companies slashing prices on their 2010 flagship models.  In the end Honda emerged the victor, boasting the cheaper price of $19,800 in the U.S.  Now it has taken an early lead in sales as well, setting an unprecedented record in Japan.

The Honda Insight became Japan's top selling vehicle for the month of April.  This marked the first time in Japan's automotive history a traditional hybrid has climbed to the top of the list. 

The Honda Insight retails for 1.89 million yen ($19,000) in Japan.  According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, approximately 10,481 Insights sold in April.  Small hybrids with an engine size of up to 660 cubic centimeters (aka, minicars) have cracked the top of the sales list in Japan, but the Insight in the first traditional vehicle to do so.

A Honda spokesperson cheered the news, bragging, "The all-new Insight has been very well received by a wide range of customers due to its excellent environmental performance, easy-to-use packaging, light and comfortable driving and affordable pricing."

Toyota is set to release the 2010 Prius next week, with May offering the first taste of the vehicles' head-to-head sales figures.  With Toyota aggressively pricing the established Prius, a larger vehicle, at only approximately $1,000 more than the Insight, it is expected to post strong sales as well.

While the sales of the Insight say less about the upcoming competition with the Prius, and more about the appeal of the Insight itself, they do also show that sales of hybrids are picking up again, despite a lag due to the poor economy.  That's good news for Toyota and Honda, which make a lucrative $3,100 on each of the hybrids sold, according to recent reports.

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Honda Prius?
By soloman02 on 5/11/2009 1:48:15 PM , Rating: -1
I don't know about the rest of you, but if it weren't for that Honda Logo, I'd have mistaken the 2010 insight for a Toyota Prius.

I wonder if Toyota has any legal recourse for such a blatant design copy.

Though I don't know why Toyota would even want to sue. I mean the Prius looks like crap and Honda copied that crap!

RE: Honda Prius?
By Alphafox78 on 5/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Honda Prius?
By Strandwolf on 5/11/2009 5:50:12 PM , Rating: 1
Gotta luv yer logic, ace.

RE: Honda Prius?
By SpaceJumper on 5/11/2009 2:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think is the marketing strategy. Similarly, the new Ford Focus front grill looks like the Honda Civic.
Ugly is in the eyes of the observer.

RE: Honda Prius?
By Mojo the Monkey on 5/11/2009 2:29:20 PM , Rating: 4
I agree with you 99%. One exception: no one could possibly find the Pontiac Aztec (back when they still made it) to be anything but ugly. It gets my vote as the ugliest car ever made.

Even the profile (side view) reminds me of a rhino taking a dump.

RE: Honda Prius?
By matt0401 on 5/11/2009 11:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Additionally, didn't a car review site actually have a team of panelists also officially declare the Aztec to be the ugliest vehicle ever produced? Or if not wasn't it in like the top 4?

RE: Honda Prius?
By FITCamaro on 5/11/2009 3:40:17 PM , Rating: 4
I dunno. I actually think the Insight's front end looks a lot better. To where I'd potentially drive it. But personally I think the Volt looks way better than both.

RE: Honda Prius?
By marvdmartian on 5/11/2009 4:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
Since all car manufacturers copy aspects of their competition's cars in one way or another, I doubt they'd have a leg to stand on.

They do say it's the highest form of flattery, ya know?? ;)

RE: Honda Prius?
By donjuancarlos on 5/11/2009 5:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
... and if you delve into your car history, you will fund that pundits complained that the Prius was a ripoff of the Honda CRX. Yes, as someone else said, it's all about the wind tunnel, man.

RE: Honda Prius?
By A5un on 5/11/2009 6:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
Really? The front of the Insight is very Honda-ish. If you compare it to the new line of Civics today, it looks just like a Civic. But I guess the dissimilarity stops there.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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