Japan In December 2012: A Much Better Year Than Some Predicted

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japan in december 2012 a much better year than some predicted

The Japanese new car market ended the year 2012 up 27.5 percent to 5,369,721 units. You may read other numbers elsewhere, but that’s because it is often overlooked that regular vehicles and mini vehicles are reported separately in Japan. At TTAC, we consolidate them as a service to our readers.

Japan ends the year without the big double-digit drop some prophesied for the last quarter after government incentives expired in September. The market is down slightly in December, and up strongly for the year.

Regular vehicle sales Japan December 2012ManufacturerDec ’12Dec ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYDaihatsu210227-7.5%2,9903,101-3.6%Hino3,9963,44616.0%42,46334,23824.0%Honda18,88630,943-39.0%423,904378,53012.0%Isuzu5,4054,29425.9%59,80542,09642.1%Lexus2,9672,24232.3%43,65742,3653.0%Mazda9,2919,2160.8%165,755144,45214.7%Mitsubishi3,5083,4461.8%60,39754,9519.9%Mitsubishi Fuso2,8852,58411.6%34,71527,03228.4%Nissan31,10334,126-8.9%506,518445,93713.6%Subaru11,2936,84764.9%108,07173,80646.4%Suzuki4,9225,758-14.5%88,18176,76514.9%Toyota91,74094,970-3.4%1,603,1501,151,07539.3%UD Trucks738876-15.8%9,1048,4697.5%Other27,48522,98519.6%241,564206,25717.1%Total214,429221,960-3.4%3,390,2742,689,07426.1%Data courtesy Japan Automobile Dealers Association

Sales of regular vehicles were down 3.4 percent in December and up 26.1 percent for the year, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association reports. Honda and Nissan were underperforming, Toyota outperformed the market.

Mini vehicle sales Japan December 2012ManufacturerDec ’12Dec ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYSuzuki35,38637,901-6.6%584,957476,13822.9%Daihatsu41,48647,351-12.4%674,181545,17823.7%Mitsubishi4,9646,728-26.2%80,09692,673-13.6%Subaru2,8848,606-66.5%69,65184,895-18.0%Honda25,91210,516146.4%321,301125,002157.0%Mazda3,0962,9166.2%52,60645,47315.7%Nissan7,94311,034-28.0%153,337145,4335.4%Toyota2,4022,1889.8%43,2596,308585.8%Other25-60.0%594531.1%Total124,075127,245-2.5%1,979,4471,521,14530.1%Data courtesy Japan Mini Vehicles Association

Sales of mini vehicles fell in line with their bigger brothers after having been ahead for the previous months: Up 30.1 percent for the year, and down 2.5 percent for December, according to data provided by the Japan Mini Vehicles Association. Honda continues its attack of the mini vehicle market with its highly successful NBOX series.

Total vehicle sales Japan December 2012ManufacturerDec ’12Dec ’11YoYYTD ’12YTD ’11YoYDaihatsu41,69647,578-12.4%677,171548,27923.5%Hino3,9963,44616.0%42,46334,23824.0%Honda44,79841,4598.1%745,205503,53248.0%Isuzu5,4054,29425.9%59,80542,09642.1%Lexus2,9672,24232.3%43,65742,3653.0%Mazda12,38712,1322.1%218,361189,92515.0%Mitsubishi8,47210,174-16.7%140,493147,624-4.8%Mitsubishi Fuso2,8852,58411.6%34,71527,03228.4%Nissan39,04645,160-13.5%659,855591,37011.6%Subaru14,17715,453-8.3%177,722158,70112.0%Suzuki40,30843,659-7.7%673,138552,90321.7%Toyota94,14297,158-3.1%1,646,4091,157,38342.3%UD Trucks738876-15.8%9,1048,4697.5%Other27,48722,99019.6%241,623206,30217.1%Total338,504349,205-3.1%5,369,7214,210,21927.5%

Consolidated, the Japanese market ends in much better shape than many predicted: Up 27.5 percent for the year, and only a slight 3.1 percent loss in December, compared to a subsidized previous year.

This year will be a different story.

Join the conversation
3 of 11 comments
  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Jan 07, 2013

    So, what's the best-performing import brand?

  • Alluster Alluster on Jan 07, 2013

    GM better get started on the Japanese market if they ever intend to outsell Toyota again in global sales. Toyota group sold more than 2.3 Million cars in Japan. GM likely sold less than 10,000 Units.

  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.