Toyota Attacks Weak Domestic Sales With Car Mall

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The AP reports that Toyota is tackling slow Japanese sales with a new, 200-store and restaurant, auto-themed mall. The Tressa mall in Yokohama features car-shaped shopping carts, a model car store and musical robots. The mall's "anchors:" massive Toyota showrooms. A Toyota subsidiary has been operating an automall in Gifu prefecture since 1999. Despite the marketing razzmatazz, the root problems for Toyota– and Japanese car sales in general– remain. An analyst with Mizuho Investors Securities says that Japanese OEMs have ignored the competitive domestic market for too long in favor in favor of higher profits abroad. Atsushi Kawai says the neglect has created a cultural resistance to the enormous hassles of Japanese car ownership. "Domestic sales are a total disaster now," says Kawai. "A car used to symbolize a dream. People used to work hard to buy a car. These days, nobody is saying that. No one thinks a car is cool anymore."

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
4 of 9 comments
  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Mar 26, 2008

    I would be interested in a robot musician though. Do they sell those?

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Mar 26, 2008

    If I recall, in Japan, to buy a car you first have to prove you have a place to park it. So living in a crowded city would prevent a lot of buyers from qualifying. Perhaps that is only in dense areas. Second, again if I recall, Japanese emission and road-ready regulations pretty much force you to buy a new car within 5 years. Between the two, I could certainly see why a Japanese customer would acquire a "Why Bother" attitude. Perhaps Great Britain should look at Japan for ideas on how reduce to reduce demand for cars, versus trying to tax them out of existence like they seem to be trying so hard to do.

  • KixStart KixStart on Mar 26, 2008

    This auto mall thing may look peculiar to us but it may very well be very appealing to the Japanese. I've got a child living in the Orient. I get a report every week on something that's just plain peculiar by our lights.

  • Johnson Johnson on Mar 27, 2008

    It's ignorant to say Japanese OEMs have ignored the Japanese market. On the contrary, the Japanese automakers have been releasing new models and updating current models at a blistering pace. Last year in Japan for instance Toyota had a new or updated model unveiled almost once every month. Japan has an excellent public transit system, and combined with the hurdles of owning a car in Japan this is discouraging a lot of young people from wanting a car. The Japanese automakers are trying hard to be creative and inventive in order to catch the attention of car buyers.