TOKYO -- A five-door subcompact hatchback that resembles a mini-minivan is driving Honda Motor Co. to double-digit sales gains in Japan, even as the overall market here languishes.
Honda has sold 197,000 Fits since the car debuted on June 22, 2001. That is more than double the volume Honda had targeted.
Because of the Fit, which has come to account for one-quarter of Honda's Japan sales, the automaker has enjoyed double-digit sales gains in all but four of the last 12 months. In contrast, overall new-vehicle sales in Japan have dropped in nine of the last 12 months.
In May, for instance, Honda's sales surged 18.3 percent while the total industry rose a bare 0.2 percent. Since November, the Fit has been Japan's best-selling vehicle five times and No. 2 the other two months.