TORRANCE, CA – Despite a 45-percent sales drop in the U.S. compared to last year's figures, the Toyota Prius appears to be a big hit in Japan, holding the position of best-selling car in the month of May, according to Asia BusinessGreen.

U.S. sales of the Prius were down from 15,011 in May 2008 to just 10,091 for the same month this year. For the year to date, sales of the Prius in the U.S. stand at 42,753 compared to 79,675 in 2008 — a drop of more than 45 percent.

In contrast, the Prius topped sales charts from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, having sold a reported 10,915 cars in May, according to BusinessGreen.

The Prius's success was attributed to the release of a new, cheaper model last month retailing at about $3,000 (£1,850) less than the previous model, reported BusinessGreen.