Japanese allegedly bought 221,960 vehicles in December, up from 179,666 a year earlier, data provided by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association shows. Japan’s domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses are up 23.5 percent compared to December 2010. This brings the calendar year total to 2.69 million vehicles, down 16.7 percent. Don’t write this into your Excel sheet just yet, because it is only part of the intricate Japanese sales saga.
Sales of mini cars and trucks are reported by a different body, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association. The kei car group says that 127,246 units were sold in December, up 17.6 percent from December of the prior year. For the calendar year, sales of 1.52 million kei cars are reported, down 11.9 percent.
So can we add 1.52 million to the 2.69 million, give Japan sales of 4.21 million and get it over with? No, we can’t.
Imports to the allegedly closed Japan are tallied by yet another body, the Japan Automobile Importers Association. This august association does not have its numbers ready. They are promised for January 11. They should add another 200,000 or thereabouts cars to the total.
When the numbers are in, we expect the total market to be down around 14 percent for the year, with both full-sized and kei suffering from the tsunami effects, and imports to be up by around 10 percent.
Once we have all numbers, we will give you a complete run-down, by brand, even if we have to go over there and count them ourselves.