Toyota Motor Corp.'s Aqua hybrid topped Japan's new car sales ranking in February for the first time in five months, data released by industry bodies showed Thursday. Sales of the Aqua fell 2.3 percent year-on-year to 23,973 units last month, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association. Toyota's Prius hybrid came in second with sales edging up 0.1 to 23,501 units, followed by Daihatsu Motor Co.'s Tanto minivehicle with 23,166 units, up 72.8 percent. Seven of the top 10 models were minicars with engines no larger than 660 cc, reflecting interest among consumers in its fuel efficiency and affordable price. Japan's new vehicle sales are expected to rise due to increased demand ahead of the planned sales tax hike in April, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association. Overall new car sales in Japan marked double-digit growth for six straight months in February. The government plans to raise sales tax from the current five percent to eight percent to restore the country's fiscal health.