Prius back on top in Japan as sales continue to climb

The Toyota Prius has once again unseated the Honda Fit to become Japan's best-seller, a position it held for nearly two years.

The Toyota Prius enjoyed a 20 month reign as Japan's best-selling car until earlier this year, when a new Honda Fit variant forced the venerable Toyota to concede its spot.

But the tides have turned once again in Japan, where the market is still recovering from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake rocked the Asian country in March. Once again, the Prius is back on top in Japan, where 19,429 examples of the five-door hybrid lineup found buyers compared to 16,321 Honda Fits.

The Prius was buoyed by the introduction of a new, larger Prius Alpha (pictured), which is available in Japan with both five and seven seat configurations. Toyota has received more than 52,000 orders for the Prius Alpha in Japan, which is just now entering full-scale production. The Japanese automaker delivered just shy of 3,000 Prius Alphas last month in its home market.

Sales of all cars tanked in April, when rolling blackouts were still common as Japan tried to regroup after the earthquake and tsunami. Just 4,876 Prius models were sold during the month, although Honda dealers managed to find new homes for 8,500 Fits.

Last month, the Fit was still on top and the Prius had sunk to third place when its subcompact Toyota Vitz (sold here as the Yaris) sibling snuck its way into second place.