Japanese Buy More Imports. Sadly, The Wrong Ones

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
Japan is the land of crazes. There is a small, but steady imported car craze developing in the land of the supposedly closed car market. Imported car sales rose 2.6 percent year on year to 11,642 units in April, the sixth straight month of increase, says The Nikkei [sub], citing data by the Japan Automobile Importers Association.What helped car imports was the fact that more imported models became eligible for the government tax break on environmentally friendly vehicles. The obscenely strong Yen (last year, it took 110 Yen to buy a Dollar, now it’s down to 93 Yen) also helps matters, as it makes imported cars more attractive.As usual, American cars are missing out. Also as usual, Volkswagen tops the import sales ranking for the fourth straight month. April sales were up 32.2 percent to 2,805 units. Japan’s most favorite import is a VW Golf.
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  • Znork Znork on May 13, 2010

    I struggle to understand your definition of "wrong".

  • Windswords Windswords on May 13, 2010

    Bertel, Talk about crazes... I remember seeing something on TV that there were devoted Japanese fans of - are you ready for this - the Chevy Astro van! They had a club (or clubs) devoted to it. They used them to go camping, on vacations and the like. It was surreal. Do you know anything about it?

    • See 5 previous
    • Thesal Thesal on May 14, 2010

      Not only the Astro, don't forget the "Dajiban"....more commonly known as the Dodge Van. Haha. A quick google search will show tons of modded "Dajibans" rockin the road courses of japan!

  • Brettc Brettc on May 13, 2010

    The iasc.jp site is beyond awesome with Google translate working its magic. I wonder if the Astro club members bring Cucumber Pepsi with them on their camping trips.

  • BDB BDB on May 13, 2010

    So the top import brand might sell 30,000 cars this year in a country with a population half the size of the US, and this proves how import friendly Japan is? Uh, ok.

    • See 6 previous
    • Geggamoya Geggamoya on May 13, 2010

      BDB--> Ford may well be an American company, but i don't know anyone who considers Ford cars to be American, and if the cars are not considered to be American i can't see how the brand can be. Ford has a long history in Europe after all, mostly selling cars designed and made in Europe for the European market. We don't get any of the "American Ford" cars, apart from some grey import Mustangs at a cost similar to a new BMW 540. Those are recognized as American cars. I see maybe two Mustangs a year. Even 80's Ford pick-ups are more common than any recent USA Ford, and i might even see the odd Econoline. Chevy vans from the 80's and 90's are a daily sight however. And one of my old neighbours has a black Astro van he bouth new in -89, still in mint condition. There was some kind of tax loophole that the chevy van and astro could exploit so there were quite a few of those sold in the early nineties. im getting off-topic here... Dodge and Chrysler are pretty much the only American cars we get, and those are selling pretty poorly. Im not quite sure what to think of the Chevrowoos.