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Dyson, the iconic vacuum cleaner manufacturer, has seen one of its machines become the top-selling model in Japan just 15 months after it was launched.

Sales of the DC12 - a compact model designed specifically for the Japanese market - have risen by 400 per cent since last August. Dyson now has an 11 per cent share of the Japanese market by value, and has overtaken domestic electronic giants such as Sharp, Sanyo and Panasonic.

This is another overseas success story for James Dyson, the company's founder. In February Dyson overtook the Hoover brand to become the market leader in America, where 17m vacuums are sold every year.

Martin McCourt, the chief executive of Dyson, said sales of the DC12 had exceeded £40m since it was launched in May 2004. Around 200,000 models have been sold in the past year.

"Japan is the second-largest vacuum cleaner market we are in after the US. We are pleased at our success because it is one of the toughest markets for Western companies to crack," said McCourt.

The DC12 is smaller than the average Dyson to make storage in Japanese homes easier. The model was the first to be powered by a digital motor that was developed by the company.

In 2002 the company caused controversy by moving the production of its machines from the UK to the Far East. However, they are still designed in Wiltshire.

From The Telegraph

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