By on January 5, 2011

When it comes to new cars, trucks and buses, Japan’s can look back at the first sales increase in seven years. Sales rose 10.6 percent in all of 2010, powered by the generosity of the Japanese government. The country will remember 2010 with woefulness. This year, the sales will be down hard. After 14 months of government-induced growth, Japan cut the buying incentives last September, and the market keeled over.

December sales gave a preview of sales not to come: Sales were down 28.3 percent in December, according to data provided by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association to The Nikkei [sub]. These numbers do not include mini (“kei”) cars and trucks.

Japan’s total new vehicle sales including minicars rose only 7.5 percent in 2010 from the previous year to a total of 4,956,136 units, the Mainichi Shimbun reports. The total was dragged down by the poorer (sales-) performance of the small cars. Mini vehicles sales rose only 2.3 percent to 1,726,420 units, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association said.

The way the incentive program was set up, it had an immense pull-forward effect. The program had a cash for clunker component, but that was hardly used. Japan doesn’t have the number of old cars like the U.S.A. or Europe. The extra cars bought in 2010 will be sorely missed in 2011. Compared with an artificially high 2010, Japanese domestic  2011 numbers will look very ugly.

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4 Comments on “New Car Sales Japan 2010: Up 7.5 Percent, But This Year Looks Ugly...”

  • avatar

    Interesting article about Japanese society of today that may, though indirectly, relate in some manner to changes within Japanese society that are affecting their auto industry.
    May be akin to the manner in which today’s younger USA spawn are not apparently as interested in vehicles or obtaining driver licenses as was observable during the Boomer generation and earlier.

    Time marches on and you younguns will one day see one of your feet dangling above the grave then another then…… bang….. out go the lights.
    Just hope for good health as long as you can.
    At least there is a little bit of satisfaction in being a Crotchety Old Fart ™.
    Shucks, just last week at the new grocery store over yonder I wandered in for some vittles and every dern’ employee I came across looked at me and asked if I needed help finding sumpthin’ or if I required assistance or some other question that management had told them folks to ask of customers.
    Fer’ cryin’ out loud!!!!!!!!!!! Didn’t management realize how annoying that can be?
    After 15 or more bouts of feigned politeness are returned to my natural grumpy state and commenced growling and making animal-like guttural sounds as the too-many employees present commenced their barrage of unwanted unneeded boring questions.
    Now THAT was fun!!!!!!!!!!!
    May go back again but will growl from the beginning.
    Oh… Japan.
    Try “This is Japan” by Duke Jupiter.  Good rockin’ from the early 1980s.
    Haven’t heard it on the radio for many years.
    Found one place where it can be listened to on the Web but didn’t bookmark it.
    Now, behave thineselves you pesky younguns.

  • avatar

    I lived in Japan 9 of the last 11 years and I can tell you the article obbop linked to above is pretty accurate.  There are tons of well educated people working pitiful, part time or temp jobs for low wages – and tons more kids are coming out of college every year.  No wonder they live with their parents forever.

    The unfortunate thing is that the USA is headed that way too – the bad news is, however, unlike the Japanese baby boomers, American baby boomers were spenders not savers…

  • avatar

    A major factor why Japan doesn’t have a lot of beat-up clunkers on the road is the shaken or inspection requirement for motor vehicles.  These inspections are pretty extensive (and expensive), and service garages make a nice racket out of performing them.  These have to be done every 2 years, and they get progressively expensive over time such that many Japanese motorists will replace their cars about every 6-7 years when the cost of the inspections start to approach the depreciated value of their cars.   As you might expect, the motor vehicle manufacturers, car dealers, and garages love this system. 

    Consequently, a lot of older (more than 8 year old) Japanese cars are in pretty serviceable condition such that they are often exported to other countries, often developing countries, but also affluent countries such as New Zealand. 

  • avatar

    That pearl diver is about to get some H action.
    No, really.

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