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August 7, 2009

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Hybrids gain sales as Japan goes green

TOYOTA'S hugely popular Prius hybrid ranked as Japan's top-selling car in July, clinching the spot for the third consecutive month as tax breaks boosted sales of green vehicles, an auto industry group said yesterday.

The Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Toyota Motor Corp, the world's No. 1 auto maker, sold 27,712 Prius cars in July, up 24 percent from June.

Sales of gas-electric hybrid cars have been surging in Japan despite the global auto slump, helped by government incentives such as making hybrid vehicles tax free.

"Strong sales of the Prius also reflected a trend that consumers were interested in eco-friendly products," said Kentaro Nakata, an association spokesman.

Toyota's rival, Honda Motor Co, also enjoyed brisk sales of the Insight hybrid, posting a 16.3 percent rise in July to 10,210 units.


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