Japan In September 2012: Coming Back To Earth

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japan in september 2012 coming back to earth

September was the month when the torrid growth of Japanese car sales came to an end. Sales of all cars were down 3.4 percent in Japan. The market is down for two reasons, mathematical and governmental.

The mathematical reason for the arrested growth lies in the fact that in September 2011, Japanese car sales, severely depressed as a result of the March 11 tsunami, showed first signs of recovery. The governmental reason weighs heavier on September sales: The incentive program came to a halt in September.

Regular vehicle sales Japan September 2012ManufacturerSept ’12Sept ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYDaihatsu241333-27.6%2,3032,1377.8%Hino4,7044,5144.2%32,04124,93028.5%Honda26,18843,422-39.7%365,463278,45531.2%Isuzu6,9154,58350.9%46,22330,68050.7%Lexus3,7925,770-34.3%34,40032,0207.4%Mazda15,53117,409-10.8%136,678112,90021.1%Mitsubishi8,0346,47924.0%46,28142,8927.9%Mitsubishi Fuso2,9883,109-3.9%26,56918,35844.7%Nissan51,31253,427-4.0%406,013338,71019.9%Subaru11,8519,07430.6%76,72156,33336.2%Suzuki7,4717,3691.4%73,03758,90224.0%Toyota121,937131,072-7.0%1,274,983813,59256.7%UD Trucks8561,024-16.4%6,8865,78319.1%Other26,65826,2051.7%178,729151,25918.2%Total288,478313,790-8.1%2,706,3271,966,95137.6%Data courtesy Japan Automobile Dealers Association

Sales of registered cars were down 8.1 percent, says the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

Mini vehicle sales Japan September 2012ManufacturerSept ’12Sept ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYSuzuki50,51046,0859.6%462,806353,73130.8%Daihatsu51,55152,092-1.0%541,425393,31837.7%Mitsubishi6,0049,842-39.0%65,16972,965-10.7%Subaru4,6618,449-44.8%60,92560,4740.7%Honda27,17312,091124.7%240,90396,030150.9%Mazda4,7124,950-4.8%41,53634,78419.4%Nissan10,19114,675-30.6%123,792105,83817.0%Toyota3,3992161473.6%35,02321616114.4%Other71600.0%372927.6%Total158,208148,4016.6%1,571,6161,117,38540.7%Data courtesy Japan Mini Vehicles Association

Separately reported sales of mini vehicles defied gravity and were up 6.6 percent according to data supplied by the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

Total vehicle sales Japan September 2012ManufacturerSept ’12Sept ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYDaihatsu51,79252,425-1.2%543,728395,45537.5%Hino4,7044,5144.2%32,04124,93028.5%Honda53,36155,513-3.9%606,366374,48561.9%Isuzu6,9154,58350.9%46,22330,68050.7%Lexus3,7925,770-34.3%34,40032,0207.4%Mazda20,24322,359-9.5%178,214147,68420.7%Mitsubishi14,03816,321-14.0%111,450115,857-3.8%Mitsubishi Fuso2,9883,109-3.9%26,56918,35844.7%Nissan61,50368,102-9.7%529,805444,54819.2%Subaru16,51217,523-5.8%137,646116,80717.8%Suzuki57,98153,4548.5%535,843412,63329.9%Toyota125,336131,288-4.5%1,310,006813,80861.0%UD Trucks8561,024-16.4%6,8865,78319.1%Other26,66526,2061.8%178,766151,28818.2%Total446,686462,191-3.4%4,277,9433,084,33638.7%

On a consolidated basis, sales dropped percent to 446,686units in September. January through September, the Japanese market (all vehicles) is up 38.7 percent to 4.3 million units, up from 3.1 million units in an earthquake-stricken 2011.

Market Share Japan September 2012ManufacturerSept ’12Sept ’11YTD ’12YTD ’11Daihatsu11.6%11.3%12.7%12.8%Hino1.1%1.0%0.7%0.8%Honda11.9%12.0%14.2%12.1%Isuzu1.5%1.0%1.1%1.0%Lexus0.8%1.2%0.8%1.0%Mazda4.5%4.8%4.2%4.8%Mitsubishi3.1%3.5%2.6%3.8%Mitsubishi Fuso0.7%0.7%0.6%0.6%Nissan13.8%14.7%12.4%14.4%Subaru3.7%3.8%3.2%3.8%Suzuki13.0%11.6%12.5%13.4%Toyota28.1%28.4%30.6%26.4%UD Trucks0.2%0.2%0.2%0.2%Other6.0%5.7%4.2%4.9%Total100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%

In terms of market share, Toyota-branded vehicles gained an impressive 4.2 percent, followed by Honda with a 2 percent gain. Nissan lost 2 percent.

Japan Big Three September 2012GroupToyota Motor CoNissanHondaUnits Sept ’12181,83261,50353,361Units Sept ’11188,22768,10255,513Units YoY-3.4%-9.7%-3.9%MS Sept ’1240.7%13.8%11.9%MS Sept ’1140.7%14.7%12.0%Units YTD ’121,885,775529,805606,366Units YTD ’111,234,193444,548374,485MS YTD ’1244.1%12.4%14.2%MS YTD ’1140.0%14.4%12.1%YoY YTD52.8%19.2%61.9%

Looking at the Big Three, Toyota and Honda exceed the market, Nissan is falling behind.

All in all, it will be interesting to see what October and November will bring. Japan is a make-to-order market, and purchases do not immediately translate into registrations.

Join the conversation
  • Alan I blame COVID, the chip shortage, container shortage and the war in Ukraine. This aggression is evident in normal daily driving of late.
  • Alan $10 000 is a bit rich for a vehicle that most likely been flogged all its life, plus it's a VW. Lots of electrical gremlins live in them.
  • Alan Mitsubishi, Hino and Izuzu trucks are quite common in Australia. Another factor that needs to be taken into account are the cheap Chinese trucks and vans that are entering the market in Australia and becoming more popular as reliability improves, with huge warranties. Businesses want the cheapest logistics. Plumbers, concreters, builders buy many of these in their lightest versions, around 2.5 tonne payload. Hino/Toyota could use the cheaper competitor in Mitsubishi as a competitor against the Chinese. You don't see too many of the Japanese/Asian trucks in the rural areas.
  • 2ACL I think it's a good choice. The E89 didn't get respect due to its all-around focus when new, but it's aged well, and the N52/6HP combo is probably more fun and capable than it's given credit for.
  • Wjtinfwb I can hear the ticking from here...