By Andrew Ganz
Monday, May 11th, 2009 @ 8:50 am
 
Honda's new Insight has become the first-ever hybrid to top the monthly sales charts in Japan. Despite years of Toyota Prius hype, the less-expensive Insight - the cheapest hybrid on sale in that market - became the first-ever hybrid to take the top sales position last month when 10,481 units were sold.

Starting at $19,000 in Japan (1.89 million yen), the Insight topped all other new car sales excluding minicars (vehicles with engine sizes smaller than 660 cc).

"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," the automaker said in a statement.

The all-new Insight won't have a fresh, direct competitor until the redesigned Toyota Prius hits showrooms next week, albeit at a higher price.

The Insight recently went on sale in the United States priced at $19,800, making it also the least-expensive hybrid offering.