New car sales in Japan rose 72 percent in March to 751,888 vehicles. Sales of registered vehicles climbed 78.2 percent to 497,959, says the Japan Automobile Dealers Association JADA. Sales of separately reported mini vehicles rose 60.5 percent to 253,929, as indicated by data of the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.
To put this amazing surge in perspective, one needs to go back a year to March 2011. On March 11, Japan was hit by the biggest post-war disaster in form of the earthquake, tsunami and resulting meltdown. Sales of regular cars dropped 37 percent in that month, those of minivehicles sunk 31.6 percent. The resulting base effect is boosted even more by green car subsidies that had lifted Japanese car sales by 35 percent in the first two month of the year.
Sales by Manufacturer, March 2012, Japan, Registered Vehicles
(Regular vehicles only. By manufacturer data of mini vehicles not yet available.)
So far, total sales of all vehicles are up 47.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012. A total of 1,687,445 vehicles wre sold January through March, 2012, compared to 1,144,384 in the same period of 2011. Expect this trend to accelerate in the next months that compare with post-tsunami months on 2011. In the market share department (regular vehicles,) Toyota gained 3.4 percent in the first quarter. Most other competitors are slightly negative. Mazda lost nearly a percent of share in the first quarter.
(Close your eyes when you see reports by the Associated Press. They must have been drunk when they wrote that “auto sales climbed 3 per cent in January-March from a year earlier to 3.1 million vehicles.” Pure garbage, correct data above.)