Japan In November 2012: Kei Cars Save The Month

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japan in november 2012 kei cars save the month

Some forecasters expected Japan’s appetite for new cars to drop by more than 20 percent in the last quarter after government incentives expired in September. So far, it is not happening. Sales of new cars, trucks and buses declined a minuscule 0.4 percent in November. Elsewhere you may read that the market was down 3.3 percent, but they are not giving you the whole story. Sales of mini vehicles, or kei cars actually were up in November, pulling the market nearly completely out of minus territory.

Regular vehicle sales Japan November 2012ManufacturerNov ’12Nov ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYDaihatsu244296-17.6%2,7802,874-3.3%Hino3,5503,06815.7%38,46730,79224.9%Honda19,54932,777-40.4%405,018347,58716.5%Isuzu4,5564,1858.9%54,40037,80243.9%Lexus3,1623,795-16.7%40,69040,1231.4%Mazda10,63210,879-2.3%156,464135,23615.7%Mitsubishi5,2324,55015.0%56,88951,50510.5%Mitsubishi Fuso2,7063,159-14.3%31,83024,44830.2%Nissan34,64939,470-12.2%475,415411,81115.4%Subaru11,8874,841145.5%96,77866,95944.5%Suzuki5,2776,080-13.2%83,25971,00717.3%Toyota122,021120,3051.4%1,511,4101,056,10543.1%UD Trucks773955-19.1%8,3667,59310.2%Other19,73617,87610.4%214,079183,27216.8%Total243,974252,236-3.3%3,175,8452,467,11428.7%Data courtesy Japan Automobile Dealers Association

Sales of regular vehicles were down 3.3 percent to 243,974 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association JADA said today. Honda’s sales dropped an alarming 40.4 percent, those of Nissan are down 12.2 percent. Don’t be too alarmed about Honda, they made it more than up elsewhere …

Mini vehicle sales Japan November 2012ManufacturerNov ’12Nov ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYSuzuki45,27145,2430.1%549,571438,23725.4%Daihatsu46,89852,361-10.4%632,695497,82727.1%Mitsubishi5,2196,906-24.4%75,13285,945-12.6%Subaru3,2329,322-65.3%66,76776,289-12.5%Honda30,6018,150275.5%295,389114,486158.0%Mazda3,9653,9510.4%49,51042,55716.3%Nissan11,83515,336-22.8%145,395134,3998.2%Toyota2,9312,05942.4%40,8574,120891.7%Other163433.3%574042.5%Total149,968143,3314.6%1,855,3731,393,90033.1%Data courtesy Japan Mini Vehicles Association

Data provided by the Japan Mini Vehicle Association paint a different picture for kei cars. Honda tore into the kei car market with a number of (slightly) different NBOXes. Honda’s kei sales were up a huge 275.5 percent and helped lift the market for mini vehicles by 4.6 percent in November.

Total vehicle sales Japan November 2012ManufacturerNov ’12Nov ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYDaihatsu47,14252,657-10.5%635,475500,70126.9%Hino3,5503,06815.7%38,46730,79224.9%Honda50,15040,92722.5%700,407462,07351.6%Isuzu4,5564,1858.9%54,40037,80243.9%Lexus3,1623,795-16.7%40,69040,1231.4%Mazda14,59714,830-1.6%205,974177,79315.9%Mitsubishi10,45111,456-8.8%132,021137,450-3.9%Mitsubishi Fuso2,7063,159-14.3%31,83024,44830.2%Nissan46,48454,806-15.2%620,810546,21013.7%Subaru15,11914,1636.7%163,545143,24814.2%Suzuki50,54851,323-1.5%632,830509,24424.3%Toyota124,952122,3642.1%1,552,2671,060,22546.4%UD Trucks773955-19.1%8,3667,59310.2%Other19,75217,87910.5%214,136183,31216.8%Total393,942395,567-0.4%5,031,2183,861,01430.3%

Consolidated, it looks like this. The market is down only slightly. Nissan’s COO Toshiyuki Shiga said in a recent interview with The Nikkei [sub] that he thinks “sales declines in response to the end of the subsidy program should be limited.” And indeed, that appears to be the case.

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  • Daniel Bridger When y'all going to learn that nothing is free?
  • MrIcky This vehicle had so many delays, then a poor launch, and then the recalls- but I look at the recall for lugnuts and I wonder if you can miss the torque spec on those, what else did you miss? This car just seems very first gen to me. I'm glad it's out there. I like competition in this space, but I'd wait until the refresh on this one. Just one too many things.
  • Jalop1991 "Toyota and Daimler merging..."Wait--another merger of equals?
  • SPPPP Aggression is pretty much the reason that racing exists, so I am going to call this an unsolvable problem. It's a contrived scenario in which you take risks to get rewards. You may be able to improve it ... but never eliminate it.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is now our fourth 20th Anniversary GTI, and the third of those four that had major structural modifications for purely aesthetic reasons. I didn't picture Tim as the type to want to join the STANCE YO crowd, but here we are?