By on March 1, 2010

Japanese sales of new cars and trucks continue their solid comeback in February. Japan has filed away carmageddon. Japan is utterly unimpressed by the Toyota troubles. Japan has not been spared Toyota recalls. The hearings and public apologies have received wide coverage in Japan. And what is the Japanese reaction? A plus 47.9 percent vote of confidence. With the currently very tight Japanese wallets. There is a long waiting list for the Prius, Toyota’s best selling car. [Editor's note: Japan is currently in the throes of its own Cash-for-Clunker prgram]

Also interesting: Sales of minivehicles, formerly feted as the future, are barely holding their own, whereas sales of “real” cars continue their double digit climb. Let’s look at the numbers:

Sales of new cars and trucks rose 35.1 percent year on year to 294,887 units in February, marking the seventh straight month of increase, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association report via The Nikkei [sub]. Passenger car sales went up 39.2 percent, sales of trucks increased 2.4 percent to 7,538 units.

Toyota (ex Daihatsu, Hino and Lexus): 146,145 units sold, up 47.9 percent.
Nissan: 47,948 units sold, up 17.8 percent.
Honda: 41,009 units sold, up 36.2 percent.
Mazda: 16,252 units sold, up 43.7 percent.
Mitsubishi Motors: 6,000 units sold, up 54.6 percent.

Minivehicles, that Japanese phenomenon of pintsized (under 660cc) “cars” are languishing. Sales of minivehicles rose a mere 0.6 percent year on year to 163,341 units in February. That was the second month of pintsized increases. Last month, the kawaii kei kars had recorded their first rise in 15 months with 0.7 percent growth. Numbers are reported by the Japan Mini Vehicles Association  via The Nikkei [sub].

Daihatsu: 58,486 units sold, up 2.8 percent.
Suzuki: 51,624 units sold, down 0.2 percent.
Nissan: 15,744 units sold, up 5.7 percent.

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17 Comments on “Japan In February 2010: New Car Sales Up 35.1 Percent. Toyota Up 47.9 Percent...”


  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    For whatever it’s worth, the Japanese stock markets were unimpressed with Toyota’s February performance. Toyota Motor (7203) closed down 1.1% on a day when the Nikkei 225 was up 0.45%.

    Reuters say the cause of the drop was a Friday story that hasn’t been reported on TTAC: Congressional investigators who have examined the Biller documents say they show “Toyota routinely withheld company records it should have turned over in court and settled personal injury cases to avoid revealing key engineering data dubbed the “Books of Knowledge.” ”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTOE62006220100301

    Bertel also didn’t mention that Japanese sales are up for the last seven months because of a cash-for-clunker government incentive program. From Bloomberg:

    [Content deleted for possible copyright infringement. Verbatim posting of whole articles goes beyond fair use. Posting of a link (as done) conveys the same message without violating the law. ED ]

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aNdCchV1vSqA

  • avatar
    JohnAZ

    Thanks for the HONEST reporting baldheadeddork.

  • avatar

    You guys must be new on TTAC.

    The Japanese cash for clunker program (along with the U.S. urge to get on board) had been reported to death on TTAC. No sense in repeating it.

    JohnAZ: Are you putting the honesty of TTAC reporting in question? Read the FAQ before answering.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      No sense in repeating it? C’mon, Bertel – it’s the main point of context for the jump in YOY sales. Toyota isn’t up because Japanese consumers are giving the finger to the American panic of SUA. They’re up because those very tight Japanese wallets are being lubed up with three grand of government money on the hood, and because the comps are against some of the worst numbers of the carpocalypse.

      Is Japan utterly unimpressed with Toyota’s troubles? This report from the Asahi Simbum on February 11 paints a different picture:

      [Content deleted for possible copyright infringement. Verbatim posting of whole articles goes beyond fair use. Posting of a link (as done) conveys the same message without violating the law. ED ]

      http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201002100451.html

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Time will tell whether or not the current increase on year on year sales rate is driven by the Japanese “scrapage” fund.

    I personally did not find our own governments “Cash for Clunkers” scheme incentive over the past summer enough for me to open my wallet.

  • avatar
    Highway27

    Toyota’s up 47%? Better than anyone else except Mitsubishi, which had a frankly pathetic number of sales. That’s the point, and that’s what shows people aren’t worried about the SUA issue. If people were worried about that, the incentives would be going to the other manufacturers. And they’d show a larger increase, especially percentage-wise with their smaller starting number.

  • avatar
    BDB

    You guys must be new on TTAC.

    Well, they deserve to have some context, too. Even if it doesn’t fit with the narrative you’d like.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      I’ve noticed a lot of new commenters on TTAC of late.

      Ed, Bertel, et al. perhaps time for a new housekeeping post? I know it’s annoying as all get out to keep repeating the same thing over and over, but unfortunately a lot of people link through Facebook or get to a TTAC article directly through a Google search and don’t click on the FAQ at the top.

      Or, failing that, I recall when the comment box had a reminder at the top saying “no flaming the site, other commenters, etc.”

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    At least on the surface, it sounds like the Japanese people are using common sense. I believe we can attribute much of Toyota’s steep U.S. sales decline to good ol’ fear, fueled by the media blitz. I’m not familiar with Japanese news media or its level of sensationalizing, but I’d bet that not only are the Japanese unperturbed by the relatively paltry handful of documented SUA cases, but are putting up a front of solidarity – it’s a matter of honor and pride in their largest automaker.

    Why kei cars are doing to poorly, I don’t know (Lower gas prices? Market saturation?), but as all the Japanese majors posted increases, it would seem the industry as a whole is bouncing back as it is here, only Toyota’s not falling victim to fear and paranoia over on Nihon-koku.

    One thing I’m pretty sure of…a Japanese driver wouldn’t get away with testifying under oath before the Diet that her car became “possessed” and the only way she survived was by the grace of kami-sama…especially if she sold the demon car off to another family!

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Wow…Toyota’s numbers better than pretty much everybody else’s!
    I expect Government Motors/UAW shills to immediately start complaining about Bertel’s reporting and about incentives (conveniently forgetting they apply to everybody).
    The big problem these crooks have- other than having their hand deep in the taxpayers pocket- is that the Toyota smear job only works here in the US.

  • avatar
    BDB

    I wonder what their Chinese sales are like last month?

    • 0 avatar

      There are whispers that they will be down. I’ll relocate from Tokyo to Beijing tomorrow and hopefully will know more. Correction: The whisper numbers were propaganda. Toyota’s February sales in China are up solid. China’s press complains about not enough recalls.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      I’m thinking that would be a better indication of how this is hurting them internationally then Japan since Japan is their home market, and the whole Japanese C4C going on.

      BTW do the Chiense tend to drive automatics or stick shifts? If they’re under the PRDNL hegemony like we are that would make any SUA problems worse.

    • 0 avatar

      The Chinese drive both stick and auto. My driver (and I see the same with many taxi drivers) has a strange habit: At the red light, he puts the automatic into neutral AND pulls the emergency brake. Light switches to green, he releases the emergency brake, shifts into D and drives away. I tried to tell him that putting the foot on the brake until the light changes has the same effect, but I gave up. Why confuse the guy. I think, with that style, we won’t hear anything about SUA from China.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      I do that, too! My reason for doing is to give my foot a rest, especially, if I know that the traffic lights will be a long time.

      I also heard that it saves a little fuel but I can’t confirm the veracity of that.


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