Japan Prices Cars Off the Roads

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
japan prices cars off the roads

The Nikkei [via Business Week] reports Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) new car sales have improved slightly in the first quarter of 2008. But the number of automobiles on Japanese roads has fallen for three months straight (down 0.2 percent last quarter). That's the largest cumulative dip since record-keeping began in 1963. The Japanese government predicts traffic will peak by… 2010. Japan's population is slowly declining. More importantly, the cost and hassle of car ownership in the densely-populated island nation is driving people to alternatives. Imagine paying $400 per month on a Tokyo parking spot, and you're beginning to get the picture. As world governments milk the four-wheeled cash cow in the name of planet saving, expect more lower and middle-class motorists to be priced right off the roads. Japanese consumers bought some 282,600 Electric bicycles last year, up some 40 percent in the last five years. sts priced off the roads. In one of the worst first quarters for auto sales in recent memory, the U.S. scooter market jumped 23 percent, according to the L.A. Times. The times, they are a-changing.

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  • Jthorner Jthorner on May 22, 2008

    Japan's major cities are unimaginably densely populated. When I traveled to Tokyo on business I found that almost nobody uses their personal car for going to work. Many professionals don't own a car, and those who did only used it for special occasions like going to the country on a weekend adventure. Manhattan is the closest thing to it in the US, but Tokyo is far larger and far denser than Manhattan. Tokyo and Osaka were laid out around 1900 around a network of train stations and trains remain the primary means of transportation. Things are going to get strange in Japan though, as the population peaked in about 2005 and is expected to continue trending down for the foreseeable future. Only a really dramatic event like merging with China would change the trend. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Japan#Population_density

  • Jthorner Jthorner on May 22, 2008

    "Accident stats actually show that for adult cyclists that don’t do anything incredibly stupid (ride the wrong way, ride at night without lights, ride drunk); safety is roughly comparable to riding in a motor vehicle." Apples and oranges, eh? If you take all the stupid things out of automobile accident statistics those numbers would drop like a rock as well. Take away alcohol, drugs, excessive speed and driver inattention/driver error and you have eliminated nearly all automobile accidents as well. Looking at real data, motorcycle fatalities are about 34 times higher than for passenger cars. 34X is a damn big multiplier. From the NHTSA's report: 2004 Occupant Fatalities per 100 Million Miles Motorcycles: 40.09 Passenger Cars: 1.18 Light Trucks: 1.16 Source: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810620.PDF

  • Areitu Areitu on May 22, 2008

    I'm a bit baffled as to how the japanese aftermarket parts industry continues to exist in the face of all that. Not only is gas and parking expensive, but don't forget about those biannual inspections that essentially require a car to be in perfect running order to receive registration. I hear that even something like a torn CV boot must be replaced to pass. Stephan Wilkinson : It's really disturbing how many "squids" have the mentality of buying a 1 liter sport bike because 250, 500s and 600s are "too small" for them and a 1000cc bike will give them space to learn on. It's almost the equivalent of going mountaineering on Everest with no climbing experience. My significant other was an EMT for about a year and saw his share of gruesome motorcycle accidents. In fact, after his first one involving brain-out-of-skull, the EMT team treated him to spaghetti.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on May 22, 2008

    Didn't TTAC post a news story a while back about how Japanese youths aren't even bothering to get drivers licenses any more? It is like they gave up on the idea that they will need to drive a car.