Toyota's Prius tops Japan car sales

Toyota's Prius emerged as the top selling car in Japan in July for the 15th consecutive month, pushing the manufacturer's sales of hybrid models in the country to a million vehicles.

The world's biggest automaker said global sales of its hybrid vehicles - which include minivans, sport utility vehicles and luxury models - have crossed 2.68 million so far, a million of them in Japan, where demand for Prius gasoline-electric hybrid is increasing.

Although Japan witnessed a rush for the Prius gasoline-electric hybrid as buyers tried to take advantage of tax breaks and other rebates, concerns have been raised over a possible fall in sales when the government-backed perks run out in late September.

According toToyota, cumulative global sales of the Prius - the automaker's best-selling hybrid - reached a million in May 2008.

The success of Prius could help Toyota - which has been hit by a series of quality lapses - improve its reputation.

Toyota has recalled nearly 10 million vehicles around the world due to a series of problems such as faulty floor mats, defective gas pedals, steering malfunctions and braking software glitches.

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