By on October 1, 2012

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 2012
Manufacturer Sept ’12 Sept ’11 YoY YTD ’12 YTD ’11 YoY
Daihatsu 241 333 -27.6% 2,303 2,137 7.8%
Hino 4,704 4,514 4.2% 32,041 24,930 28.5%
Honda 26,188 43,422 -39.7% 365,463 278,455 31.2%
Isuzu 6,915 4,583 50.9% 46,223 30,680 50.7%
Lexus 3,792 5,770 -34.3% 34,400 32,020 7.4%
Mazda 15,531 17,409 -10.8% 136,678 112,900 21.1%
Mitsubishi 8,034 6,479 24.0% 46,281 42,892 7.9%
Mitsubishi Fuso 2,988 3,109 -3.9% 26,569 18,358 44.7%
Nissan 51,312 53,427 -4.0% 406,013 338,710 19.9%
Subaru 11,851 9,074 30.6% 76,721 56,333 36.2%
Suzuki 7,471 7,369 1.4% 73,037 58,902 24.0%
Toyota 121,937 131,072 -7.0% 1,274,983 813,592 56.7%
UD Trucks 856 1,024 -16.4% 6,886 5,783 19.1%
Other 26,658 26,205 1.7% 178,729 151,259 18.2%
Total 288,478 313,790 -8.1% 2,706,327 1,966,951 37.6%
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 2012
Manufacturer Sept ’12 Sept ’11 YoY YTD ’12 YTD ’11 YoY
Suzuki 50,510 46,085 9.6% 462,806 353,731 30.8%
Daihatsu 51,551 52,092 -1.0% 541,425 393,318 37.7%
Mitsubishi 6,004 9,842 -39.0% 65,169 72,965 -10.7%
Subaru 4,661 8,449 -44.8% 60,925 60,474 0.7%
Honda 27,173 12,091 124.7% 240,903 96,030 150.9%
Mazda 4,712 4,950 -4.8% 41,536 34,784 19.4%
Nissan 10,191 14,675 -30.6% 123,792 105,838 17.0%
Toyota 3,399 216 1473.6% 35,023 216 16114.4%
Other 7 1 600.0% 37 29 27.6%
Total 158,208 148,401 6.6% 1,571,616 1,117,385 40.7%
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 2012
Manufacturer Sept ’12 Sept ’11 YoY YTD ’12 YTD ’11 YoY
Daihatsu 51,792 52,425 -1.2% 543,728 395,455 37.5%
Hino 4,704 4,514 4.2% 32,041 24,930 28.5%
Honda 53,361 55,513 -3.9% 606,366 374,485 61.9%
Isuzu 6,915 4,583 50.9% 46,223 30,680 50.7%
Lexus 3,792 5,770 -34.3% 34,400 32,020 7.4%
Mazda 20,243 22,359 -9.5% 178,214 147,684 20.7%
Mitsubishi 14,038 16,321 -14.0% 111,450 115,857 -3.8%
Mitsubishi Fuso 2,988 3,109 -3.9% 26,569 18,358 44.7%
Nissan 61,503 68,102 -9.7% 529,805 444,548 19.2%
Subaru 16,512 17,523 -5.8% 137,646 116,807 17.8%
Suzuki 57,981 53,454 8.5% 535,843 412,633 29.9%
Toyota 125,336 131,288 -4.5% 1,310,006 813,808 61.0%
UD Trucks 856 1,024 -16.4% 6,886 5,783 19.1%
Other 26,665 26,206 1.8% 178,766 151,288 18.2%
Total 446,686 462,191 -3.4% 4,277,943 3,084,336 38.7%

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 2012
Manufacturer Sept ’12 Sept ’11 YTD ’12 YTD ’11
Daihatsu 11.6% 11.3% 12.7% 12.8%
Hino 1.1% 1.0% 0.7% 0.8%
Honda 11.9% 12.0% 14.2% 12.1%
Isuzu 1.5% 1.0% 1.1% 1.0%
Lexus 0.8% 1.2% 0.8% 1.0%
Mazda 4.5% 4.8% 4.2% 4.8%
Mitsubishi 3.1% 3.5% 2.6% 3.8%
Mitsubishi Fuso 0.7% 0.7% 0.6% 0.6%
Nissan 13.8% 14.7% 12.4% 14.4%
Subaru 3.7% 3.8% 3.2% 3.8%
Suzuki 13.0% 11.6% 12.5% 13.4%
Toyota 28.1% 28.4% 30.6% 26.4%
UD Trucks 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Other 6.0% 5.7% 4.2% 4.9%
Total 100.0% 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 2012
Group Toyota Motor Co Nissan Honda
Units Sept ’12 181,832 61,503 53,361
Units Sept ’11 188,227 68,102 55,513
Units YoY -3.4% -9.7% -3.9%
MS Sept ’12 40.7% 13.8% 11.9%
MS Sept ’11 40.7% 14.7% 12.0%
Units YTD ’12 1,885,775 529,805 606,366
Units YTD ’11 1,234,193 444,548 374,485
MS YTD ’12 44.1% 12.4% 14.2%
MS YTD ’11 40.0% 14.4% 12.1%
YoY YTD 52.8% 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.

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2 Comments on “Japan In September 2012: Coming Back To Earth...”


  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Nice photo. Is that the Japanese version of a pimp mobile? Looking at those chicks, well, the word scholarly doesn’t exactly come to mind.

  • avatar
    spw

    Uhm, compared to last month (august 2012):

    Group Toyota Motor Co Nissan Honda
    Units 168,221 41,736 47,449

    Increase of sales? Despite end of incentives?
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/japan-in-august-2012-back-to-earth-but-no-crash-landing/

    That should be a story… when did the incentives run out? I thought it was end of August?

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