2011 Honda CR-Z Named Japanese Car of the Year

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Although the 2011 Honda CR-Z continues to inspire debate among CRX devotees, it has been an absolute smash hit in Japan. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that the little hybrid hatchback was able to snag the 2011 Car of the Year Japan award.

Like similar titles, the Car Of The Year Japan award is presented annually to a new or significantly redesigned vehicle launched in the country over the previous year. This year's competitors included the BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XJ, Mazda Premacy (aka Mazda5), Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Nissan March, Peugeot RCZ, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Mark X, and Volkswagen Polo -- but Japanese auto journalists voted the little CR-Z to the top of the heap.

Unsurprisingly, Honda's executive teams are thrilled with the title, especially considering the outcome of last year's COYJ awards. In 2009, the redesigned Toyota Prius brought home the proverbial bacon, with Honda's new Insight hybrid coming in a close second.

"We are very proud that the CR-Z has been selected from the strong contenders of new models as the Car of the year Japan 2010-2011," Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said in a prepared statement. "This award shows that the public has accepted Honda's aspiration to supply exceptional environmental performance in a fun-to-drive hybrid car at an affordable price. [It also] reflects the true value of the combined efforts of our business partners and the many others who supported CR-Z development and production."

The CR-Z was officially launched in the United States in late August, and with two full months of sales under its belt, some 3349 customers have bought the hatchback through the end of October. In its home market however, the CR-Z appears to be some sort of phenomenon. After rolling into showrooms in February, Honda sold more than 10,000 examples by March. There's no word on how the hybrid has performed in Japan since, but Honda says sales have exceeded expectations.

Source: Honda, jcoty.org

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