Japanese Want To Stick With It Until Their Car Commits Seppuku
Next to Buddhism and Shinto, there is a third, equally important religion in Japan: “Seken tei wo kinisuru,” or be mindful of ones reputation. Japanese are neat, and polite, and they very much care of what their neighbors think. You don’t see many old and decrepit cars on Japan’s streets. Would be bad for your seken tei. Buying a new ride every few years is just the right thing to do. Make that “was the right thing to do.”
Most of the Japanese are now dead set to hang on to their current car for its dear life. Only if it dies will they set foot into a dealer again. This is the result of a study conducted by The Nikkei (sub) and C-News, a marketing data service operated by Yahoo Japan Value Insight Corp.
The question was simple and straightforward: “What do you plan to do with your current car?” 56.5 percent of the respondents said they would drive it until it breaks down, then buy a new one. Only 10 percent chose “replace it with a new one, as soon as I find a nice model.”
The former standard behavior was to drive the car until the first mandatory safety inspection comes up. “Drive it until the next inspection, then buy a new one” now is the choice of only 18.8 percent of the respondents. Japanese repair shops will like to hear that, because it takes work and money to keep a Japanese car up to snuff for the inspection. The first one is due after three years. The next ones every two years thereafter.
At least the Nipponese don’t plan to give up driving altogether. “Drive it until it breaks down, then I will stop owning a car” (3.8 percent,) and “get rid of it as soon as possible, then I will stop owning a car” (0.5 percent) are not very popular, and no seken tei enhancing options.
Japan’s domestic auto sales fell last year to their lowest level since the mid-1970s. According to data released by the Japan Automobile Dealers’ Association, sales of new cars, trucks and buses slid 6.5 percent to 3.212m vehicles last year, down from 3.434m in 2007. 2009 looks like another down year. Especially if the Japanese do as they said in the study and will stay with their current ride until its death will tear them apart.
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