Well, it had to end at some point. Figures of Japanese car sales released late last week saw the Toyota Prius being toppled from the monthly No 1 spot as Japan’s best-selling car, a position it had held for 20 straight months.

Its replacement? Honda’s Fit compact hatch, which climbed back on to the top spot for the first time in close to two years. The Fit – or Jazz as we know it – moved 14,873 units in January, with nearly half of them the hybrid version of the car, ahead of the 13,711 managed by the Prius.

The ending of government-backed subsidies for green cars in September last year undoubtedly played a key role in pushing the Prius off the top spot. Its domestic pricing starts at US$25,000. Comparatively, the Fit was affected less by this incentive removal – it’s the cheapest hybrid in Japan at US$19,000.

Still, the Prius remains the world’s top-selling hybrid, and domestically, Toyota moved 315,669 of it in 2010, a jump of 51% from the year before.