What the government giveth, the government taketh away: After the Japanese government discontinued subsidies for “fuel-efficient cars” (well, just about anything that was street legal, including a handful of American gas-guzzlers that received preferential treatment) Japan’s domestic auto sales are forecasted to drop 9.9 percent in 2011 from this year, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association JAMA tells The Nikkei [sub] today. All in all, no big drama.
JAMA thinks that the 9.9 percent drop will follow a 7.5 percent rise this year.
Let’s look at the hard numbers: 4.6 million in 2009, 4.95 million in 2010, 4.46 million in 2011. We call that fashionably flat. Like Europe, Japan will have survived carmageddon with just minor scratches, thanks to some fiscal engineering that was longer lived than the U.S. cash for clunkers chimera.