Japan In January 2013: Down, But Not As Bad As Some Tell You

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japan in january 2013 down but not as bad as some tell you

A new year started in Japanese auto sales, and the easy double digit up times while comparing with a disaster 2011 are over. It’s getting worse: This year, Japan’s new car sales compare to 2012 sales on government-speed: Japanese could collect hefty subsidies in most of 2012, no such largesse this year. In January, new car sales are not down 12.9 percent, as the Dow Jones News Wire make you believe. They are down 7.8 percent, as correctly reported by Reuters. But down is down. Please come to the tables.

Regular vehicle sales Japan January 2013ManufacturerJan ’13Jan ’12YoYYTD ’13YTD ’12YoYDaihatsu195199-2.0%195199-2.0%Hino2,3192,358-1.7%2,3192,358-1.7%Honda20,96044,269-52.7%20,96044,269-52.7%Isuzu3,0953,444-10.1%3,0953,444-10.1%Lexus3,5643,15812.9%3,5643,15812.9%Mazda12,63512,862-1.8%12,63512,862-1.8%Mitsubishi5,2604,74910.8%5,2604,74910.8%Mitsubishi Fuso1,6172,008-19.5%1,6172,008-19.5%Nissan44,21039,65011.5%44,21039,65011.5%Subaru10,0875,91770.5%10,0875,91770.5%Suzuki5,1786,371-18.7%5,1786,371-18.7%Toyota105,355124,633-15.5%105,355124,633-15.5%UD Trucks483555-13.0%483555-13.0%Other14,37513,0949.8%14,37513,0949.8%Total229,333263,267-12.9%229,333263,267-12.9%Data courtesy Japan Automobile Dealers Association

What is down 12.9 percent are regular vehicles. The losses are pretty much across the board as far as the large OEMs go. Don’t jump to conclusions at Honda, wait for the next table.

Mini vehicle sales Japan January 2013ManufacturerJan ’13Jan ’12YoYYTD ’13YTD ’12YoYSuzuki44,65742,3285.5%44,65742,3285.5%Daihatsu46,04553,794-14.4%46,04553,794-14.4%Mitsubishi4,9737,347-32.3%4,9737,347-32.3%Subaru3,7058,755-57.7%3,7058,755-57.7%Honda34,69319,77975.4%34,69319,77975.4%Mazda5,1444,62311.3%5,1444,62311.3%Nissan12,20313,331-8.5%12,20313,331-8.5%Toyota2,7452,6991.7%2,7452,6991.7%Other110.0%110.0%Total154,166152,6571.0%154,166152,6571.0%Data courtesy Japan Mini Vehicles Association

What is up by an astounding 1 percent are sales of mini vehicles, or kei cars. This segment had a surprising resurgence in Japan , and sales are still trending up, even when compared to a very high base in 2012. As you can see, Honda is shifting JDM sales massively to kei cars. Their NBOX is a hit.

Total vehicle sales Japan January 2013ManufacturerJan ’13Jan ’12YoYYTD ’13YTD ’12YoYDaihatsu46,24053,993-14.4%46,24053,993-14.4%Hino2,3192,358-1.7%2,3192,358-1.7%Honda55,65364,048-13.1%55,65364,048-13.1%Isuzu3,0953,444-10.1%3,0953,444-10.1%Lexus3,5643,15812.9%3,5643,15812.9%Mazda17,77917,4851.7%17,77917,4851.7%Mitsubishi10,23312,096-15.4%10,23312,096-15.4%Mitsubishi Fuso1,6172,008-19.5%1,6172,008-19.5%Nissan56,41352,9816.5%56,41352,9816.5%Subaru13,79214,672-6.0%13,79214,672-6.0%Suzuki49,83548,6992.3%49,83548,6992.3%Toyota108,100127,332-15.1%108,100127,332-15.1%UD Trucks483555-13.0%483555-13.0%Other14,37613,0959.8%14,37613,0959.8%Total383,499415,924-7.8%383,499415,924-7.8%

This is the consolidated picture. For January. Japans automaker believe that the Japanese domestic market will go down more than 10 percent in 2013 . In 2012, Japan had the best sales since 2007. Japanese bought 5.57 million cars in 2012, up 27.5 percent. There won’t be a repeat-performance this year.

Join the conversation
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Feb 01, 2013

    Ut oh there's that "Japanese Auto Sales" header image again with the Korean made Hyundai and not-sold-in-Japan Acura (as far as I know).

  • Mike978 Mike978 on Feb 01, 2013

    Bertel - what is the profitability of a Kei car compared to a regular car? If there were less profitable then shifting sales from regular to Kei would not be good news financial. Of course if they were more profitable then good news for Honda etc.

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Feb 01, 2013

      Honestly, I have NO IDEA. Japanese OEMs are not very forthcoming when you ask them that.

  • Johnny ringo It's an interesting vehicle, I'd like to see VW offer the two row Buzz in the states also.
  • Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!