Detroit carmakers continue telling their fairy tale of the closed Japanese market, and their UAW members eagerly hang on their lips. Both don’t want to admit that their products are largely unsalable in Japan, and they blame the mythical bad Nipponese wolf instead. At the same time, sales of imported cars are up for the third straight month in Japan. Sales of imports were 35,841 in September, the highest since September 1996, data released by the Japan Automobile Importers Association shows.
January through September, sales of imported cars rose 13 percent in Japan to 233,609. The main drivers of imports are German and Japanese automakers. Volkswagen remains the leading importer to Japan, followed by Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Imports by Japanese brands were lifted by Mitsubishi bringing in the Thai-made Mirage and by Toyota exporting its Avensis wagon from the U.K. Nissan’s imports dropped nearly 18 percent in the first nine months. All in all, imports by Japanese makers dropped 1.6 percent in the first nine months, while non-Japanese increased their imports by 18.5 percent.
Affluent Japanese who want to demonstrate their individualism with their choice of wheels is a small demographic which American cars seemingly are unable to penetrate. Fords and Chevrolets keep being outsold by niche brands such as Porsche and Alfa Romeo. There is a small, but increasing market for Jeeps. Most likely, it is easier to cry about a closed market than to start selling in Japan in earnest.
|Imports To Japan, Jan-Sept 2012|