Japan In August 2010: Up 46.7 Percent, And This Is The End

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Japanese citizens raced to showrooms in August and bought cars as if they are going out of style. Domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses increased 46.7 percent from the same month in the year prior. There is a reason to this: Cars will be going out of style in Japan any moment now …

Currently, demand is being propped up by government incentives for “fuel efficient cars” – which is pretty much anything that is street-legal in Japan. This program will officially end on October 1. However, rumors are making the rounds that the Japanese government may stop taking applications earlier. In any case, October will definitely be the end of rising car sales in Japan. If you’ve ever seen a pull-forward effect, then this is it. Anybody who’s remotely thinking of buying a car in Japan is buying now and not after the end of the month. ( There will be a few additional months for diesels and electric vehicles.)

Japanese sales have risen the 13th straight month, according to Japan Automobile Dealers Association data published by The Nikkei [sub]. 290,789 vehicles changed hands in August, up from 198,265 vehicles in the same month in the previous year. This number excludes minivehicles.

CNBC has minivehicles rising by 21.7 percent to 134,197 units. This works out as a total of 424,986 units sold, up 37.7 percent.

Shares of major Japanese automakers had a mixed reaction to the glad tidings.

The Honda share crept up a bit, buoyed by the news that Honda’s domestic sales were up 61.3 percent in August, outperforming the market.

The Toyota share continued its fall, pulled down by worries about a still strengthening Yen and the end of the government subsidies, along with the fact that Toyota sales (+43.1 percent) slightly underperformed the market.

Domestic Automobile Sales Japan August 2010

UnitsChangeToyota Motor13247143.1%Nissan Motor 4485744.6%Honda Motor 5019561.3%Mazda Motor 2164159.8%Mitsubishi Motors 664547.0%Suzuki Motor 44444.0%Fuji Heavy 620970.6%Imports1971674.9%Excluding minivehicles. Data by Reuters
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  • John Horner John Horner on Sep 01, 2010

    Honda has a much great proportion of its production base outside Japan than Toyota does, hence investors view Honda as not being as sensitive to a rising yen as Toyota is. As an aside, why isn't Honda the second row in that table?

  • Philadlj Philadlj on Sep 01, 2010

    I don't get why 'minivehicles' (kei cars?) are excluded...they're fuel efficient, right?

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Sep 01, 2010

      In Japan, "regular" cars and minivehicles have different registration regimens,even different associations reporting different numbers. When looking at Japanese numbers, one must always make sure whether the number is with or without minivehicles.

  • RHD Any truth to the unconfirmed rumor that the new, larger model will be called the bZ6X? We could surmise that with a generous back seat it certainly should be!
  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…