Japan's Automakers Continue Rebound, Toyota Unstoppable

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Japan’s automakers released global production and sales data for July today. It is an ancient Japanese tradition, which is also shared by large European carmakers, but shunned by most American globals. GM for instance reports only quarterly on a global basis, and keeps observers guessing in between. July data released by Japanese large automakers shows a strong rebound after last year’s multiple disasters. Honda looks especially strong, while Toyota’s march towards regaining the title “World’s largest automaker 2012” appears unstoppable.

Global Production Top Three Japan, July 2012July ’12July’11YoY7M ’127M ’11YoYToyota878,324678,91629.4%6,126,1014,054,60851.1%Nissan408,309



2,507,9951,509,44266.2%Source: Company data

Japan’s Top Three continue their strong recovery after last year’s tsunami. Hardest hit Honda is back very strong and is in shouting distance of Nissan. What makes Honda’s numbers especially impressive is the fact that its Thai hub was submerged by floods and closed until March of this year. Nissan’s numbers look weak because Nissan was least affected by the tsunami.

Top 3 World, July Production and Full Year Forecast7M ’127M ’11YoYProj ’12Toyota6,126,1014,054,60851.1%10,502,000GM5,619,0005,515,0001.9%9,633,000Volkswagen5,190,0004,750,0009.3%8,897,000Black: Company data. Blue: Projection, based on last availableToyota, GM: Production. VW: Deliveries. Forecast by TTAC

Tracking the race for world’s largest automaker, there is little change from last month. January through July, Toyota is half a million units ahead of number two which is some 400,000 units ahead of Volkswagen. This trend has been unchanged throughout the year . It most likely won’t change by year’s end – unless something drastic happens. Due to the non-publishing of GM numbers, they had to be projected for July.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Join the conversation
5 of 33 comments
  • Chicagoland Chicagoland on Aug 29, 2012

    And to those saying 'Honda has lost its way', well they are crying...all the way to the banks! "Waaah, they killed the S2000!" Well, did you actaully ever buy one, new? They aren't in entertainment biz, to make cars to sit in showroom for fan-kids to drool over. Want to see more new 'sporty cars'? Go out and put $$$ where mouth is, and more will be built/sold.

    • See 2 previous
    • GarbageMotorsCo. GarbageMotorsCo. on Aug 30, 2012

      @bd2 How can their spending be higher than Ford when Honda doesn't sell big ticket F-series trucks which are constantly getting rebates? Please bring a source.

  • CelticPete CelticPete on Aug 31, 2012

    If you really value reliability above all else - one of those outdated non direct injected 4 speed cars like a Corolla or RAV4 will be to your liking. But its not proof that for EVERYONE a car is an just an appliance. Much like a Fridge or a PC might have some differenting characterstics - so can autos. Almost everyone can feel that a BMW drives much better then a Camry. Just because not everyone buys based on that is not a sign that the cars are only appliances. Actually how a car look, feels and drives is more important then ever because even 'unreliable' makes like VW can hold up for 100k miles.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.