By on July 2, 2013

Sales of all new motor vehicles in Japan were down 10.8 percent in June, continuing a down trend after the Japanese government discontinued subsidies on eco-friendly cars in September last year.  Sales of minivehicles, and especially sales of imported cars softened the blow.

The percentage drop looks worse than it is. It compares with a June 2012 when sales were up 43.6 in a last rush to cash in on the soon to expire subsidies. Later in the year, the percentage drop should normalize when we compare with more sedate sales in the prior year.

Regular vehicle sales Japan June 2013
Manufacturer June ’13 June ’12 YoY YTD ’13 YTD ’12 YoY
Daihatsu 339 306 10.8% 1,221 1,579 -22.7%
Hino 3,826 3,687 3.8% 22,382 21,276 5.2%
Honda 26,757 45,159 -40.7% 155,827 269,272 -42.1%
Isuzu 4,858 5,087 -4.5% 28,419 30,234 -6.0%
Lexus 3,935 4,081 -3.6% 22,890 22,863 0.1%
Mazda 14,592 16,116 -9.5% 88,001 91,431 -3.8%
Mitsubishi 3,053 4,481 -31.9% 30,174 30,488 -1.0%
Mitsubishi Fuso 3,233 3,497 -7.5% 16,817 18,264 -7.9%
Nissan 37,309 42,614 -12.4% 266,278 278,411 -4.4%
Subaru 10,595 7,959 33.1% 66,619 47,881 39.1%
Suzuki 7,067 9,077 -22.1% 42,400 50,545 -16.1%
Toyota 121,514 148,788 -18.3% 762,576 871,483 -12.5%
UD Trucks 846 912 -7.2% 4,181 4,845 -13.7%
Other 28,989 25,388 14.2% 133,247 118,362 12.6%
Total 266,913 317,152 -15.8% 1,641,032 1,856,934 -11.6%
Domestic 232,282 286,735 -19.0% 1,470,304 1,706,266 -13.8%
Imports 34,631 30,417 13.9% 170,728 150,668 13.3%
Data courtesy Japan Automobile Dealers Association

In the regular vehicle category,  sales were down 15.8 percent. Domestic cars were down  19 percent, however, Japanese  continue to buy more cars imported into a market that Detroit automakers say is closed. Luckily, Japanese buyers don’t listen to the propaganda. They also don’t seem to be affected with the slightly lower yen, which should make imports more expensive.

Mini vehicle sales Japan June 2013
Manufacturer June ’13 June ’12 YoY YTD ’13 YTD ’12 YoY
Suzuki 53,598 54,400 -1.5% 318,326 316,507 0.6%
Daihatsu 54,592 67,354 -18.9% 341,002 380,079 -10.3%
Mitsubishi 11,396 7,459 52.8% 39,439 47,427 -16.8%
Subaru 4,473 5,313 -15.8% 28,715 46,836 -38.7%
Honda 33,217 29,841 11.3% 212,240 161,676 31.3%
Mazda 4,439 4,226 5.0% 28,960 28,087 3.1%
Nissan 19,144 14,293 33.9% 81,368 88,207 -7.8%
Toyota 3,055 5,299 -42.3% 20,560 21,580 -4.7%
Other 1 4 -75.0% 6 23 -73.9%
Total 183,915 188,189 -2.3% 1,070,616 1,090,422 -1.8%
Data courtesy Japan Mini Vehicles Association

Japan’s love-affair with the minivehicles continues. Sales of kei cars were down only 2.3 percent. Nissan and Mitsubishi profit from the launch of the Dayz/ek Wagon.

Total vehicle sales Japan June 2013
Manufacturer June ’13 June ’12 YoY YTD ’13 YTD ’12 YoY
Daihatsu 54,931 67,660 -18.8% 342,223 381,658 -10.3%
Hino 3,826 3,687 3.8% 22,382 21,276 5.2%
Honda 59,974 75,000 -20.0% 368,067 430,948 -14.6%
Isuzu 4,858 5,087 -4.5% 28,419 30,234 -6.0%
Lexus 3,935 4,081 -3.6% 22,890 22,863 0.1%
Mazda 19,031 20,342 -6.4% 116,961 119,518 -2.1%
Mitsubishi 14,449 11,940 21.0% 69,613 77,915 -10.7%
Mitsubishi Fuso 3,233 3,497 -7.5% 16,817 18,264 -7.9%
Nissan 56,453 56,907 -0.8% 347,646 366,618 -5.2%
Subaru 15,068 13,272 13.5% 95,334 94,717 0.7%
Suzuki 60,665 63,477 -4.4% 360,726 367,052 -1.7%
Toyota 124,569 154,087 -19.2% 783,136 893,063 -12.3%
UD Trucks 846 912 -7.2% 4,181 4,845 -13.7%
Other 28,990 25,392 14.2% 133,253 118,385 12.6%
Total 450,828 505,341 -10.8% 2,711,648 2,947,356 -8.0%

All in all, sales were down 10.8 percent in June, and 8 percent for the first half of the year. Forecasters had expected a much bigger drop after the subsidies had pulled a lot of sales forward.


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17 Comments on “June Sales Down By Double Digits In Japan – Imports Continue To Defy Detroit Propaganda...”

  • avatar

    Really, I’m beginning to think Bertel goes on and on about this issue more than anyone in Detroit does. You don’t have to bring it up in every article that even mentions the Japanese auto industry.

    • 0 avatar


      Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that what happens in Japan may have a large effect here (USA), since cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord continue to dominate market share in the mid-size sedan category. For example, if either of those two really “goes south” in Japan, would not those manufacturers aggressively step up their marketing/production here to compensate?


    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps, but if he doesn’t, who will? This is the TRUTH About Cars.

      Very recently, Alan Frikkin’ Mulally lied about Japanese being a “closed market”.

      In reality, 170,728 imported cars have been sold there so far this year – a 13% increase in a market that’s nearly 11% down overall. That just doesn’t happen in a “closed market.”

      Mulally needs to be called on it, as loudly and as often as it takes for the lie to dissipate.

      • 0 avatar

        Is it 170k or 133k? Perhaps the difference being cars imported by the Jap. manufacturers. The presentation is confusing. It would be really nice to see a breakdown of the imports by nameplate.

        Since the 170k is so large, why don’t you break down the imports BS?

        • 0 avatar

          1.) I will continue delivering hard facts about Japanese imports until they stop their lies in Detroit.

          2.) Imports by nameplate follow when available, which should be in a few days.

          • 0 avatar

            @Bertel Schmitt
            Keep on posting articles like this as you say the blog is the “Truth about Cars” not someones distorted political agenda.

          • 0 avatar

            Except, you keep harping on “imports” after it had been pointed out that roughly HALF the imports are actually Japanese models built in Thailand, the US, etc. and imported into Japan.

            For the other half (imports as in sales for non-Japanese brands), the vast majority are German luxury autos.

            There’s a reason why most foreign automakers don’t bother to attend the Tokyo Motor Show while they do make it to the Seoul Motor Show despite the Korean auto market being a good bit smaller.

          • 0 avatar

            ” the vast majority are German luxury autos”.
            So they are the imports they like.

            “There’s a reason why most foreign automakers don’t bother to attend the Tokyo Motor Show while they do make it to the Seoul Motor Show ”
            Which sort of does not make sense as the Korean Industry has substantial tariffs against imported vehicles.

          • 0 avatar

            @bd2, domestic-brand imports (Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi) are less than 25% of total imports.

            Of foreign brands, Volkswagen is on top, with about 20% of total imports. The Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Mini and Volvo. Premium brands are the most successful so far in marketing to Japanese consumers.

    • 0 avatar

      But isn’t it the truth that Japan manipulates their currency. The yen has fallen 27% this year. That’s a defacto tariff. Not that the US cares – we don’t even try to sell to Japan for the most part..

      The US is far more interested in the so called ‘developing world’ of China and India. Even if Japan didn’t manipulate its currency – they wouldn’t want to buy our cars. The country is so crowded they favour mini cars.

      • 0 avatar

        The Japan-is-closed contingent is fueled by something other than logic. Maybe it used to be in the 80’s, but America used to be the Land of Opportunity, too. Try telling that to a recent college grad.

      • 0 avatar

        “But isn’t it the truth that Japan manipulates their currency.”

        No, it’s not.

        First of all, the dollar bought 89 yen on January 1.
        Today, it buys 100.

        That’s a drop of 12 percent, not of 27. Always, always look up the data yourself.

        In 2007, a dollar bought 123 yen.
        In January 2012, a dollar bought 77 yen.

        Nobody complained of currency manipulation.

        Now the currency retraces a bit to 100.

        Did it ever occur to you that the dollar is not set in stone? That it goes up and down vs. other currencies?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Your comment above illustrates the lack of knowledge by many about currency and currency trading. Many must think the world runs on USD. It doesn’t anymore, other currencies have become reserve currencies, including the Japanese Yen (for some time now).

          Japan has been in the doldrums economically for the past 20 years. A stronger Japanese economy will benefit the world just like a stronger US economy.

          What Mullaly doesn’t like is increased competition. This means he has to work harder. Life’s a bitch.

        • 0 avatar

          How did export powerhouses Hyundai and Kia do last month in Japan? I missed that on your charts.

  • avatar

    Aren’t cars sold by japanese manufactures made outside of Japan considered imports per japanese reporting methods? If so as the companies begin to move more and more manufacturing to growing/developing markets out of a dying one, then imports should continue to rise, just not meaning what they would mean in US or EU.

    The nameplate data will be very much appreciated.

  • avatar

    The US import tariff of 2.5% on imported cars is one of the reasons the Japanese set up factories in the US.

    In Canada, we have a 6% import duty on Japanese cars, mostly felt by Mazda and some Subarus. That makes a Mazda6 expensive compared to the Accord, imported duty-free from the US under NAFTA, and makes Legacys made in the US inexpensive compared to Imprezas and Foresters from Japan.

    Tariffs distort markets.

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