Japanese Domestic Market Sales Up 17.3% In October, Kei Car Growth May Stall With New Taxes

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff

ManufacturerMonth (A)Previous year (B)A / B (%)This year totalPrevious year totalYear-on-year (%)Daihatsu19424180.51939230384.2Fuji Heavy Industries1312111851110.79988876721130.2Hino55244704117.43473732041108.4Honda3939826186150.523817736529465.2Isuzu82596915119.44734946223102.4Mazda1666915531107.313190913667896.5Mitsubishi41943550118.1319804039779.2Mitsubishi Fuso38032988127.3265332656999.9Nissan47534485029836217737150197.5Perch6908728994.8612437223084.8Toyota140228124025113.11166595129587690UD Trucks1024856119.66672688696.9Imported car3745935841104.5257873233609110.4Total324315288479112.42467072270632891.2

With a sales tax increase of 3% looming next year and the Japanese economy on an upswing, October retail sales of cars and light trucks in Japan were up over 17% from the same month last year, with both regular and mini “kei” cars doing well. Honda led all companies with a 50% increase from 2012 and Toyota taking first place in overall sales with a little over 140,000 units sold, up 13%.

Last month kei cars were also up, with an increase of over 25%. Some analysts feel that the growth in kei cars will be short lived, even though both Honda and Daihatsu will be showing kei concepts at the upcoming Tokyo auto show. To compensate Japanese consumers for the increase in sales tax, it is likely that acquisition taxes on regular cars will be reduced. The new scheme will ultimately be based on fuel economy and since kei cars are not particularly fuel efficient despite their small displacement engines, taxes on kei cars will probably go up. Also, trade negotiations may mean the end of favorable tax treatment to the little cars. The Nikkei news agency reports of, “external pressure to increase taxes on minicars.” Japan is currently negotiating with the EU, trying to get the Europeans to eliminate their 10% tariff on new cars and in exchange it may sacrifice the tax advantages of kei cars, which are only made by Japanese manufacturers. That would theoretically open up more of the Japanese market to imports, which currently make up about 11.5% of JDM sales.

Source: Japan Automobile Dealers Association

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Nov 05, 2013

    Imports are 11.5% of Japanese sales and in fourth place behind Toyota, Nissan and Honda? It looks like Bertel was right, the difficulty in importing cars to Japan is greatly exaggerated, unless Toyota, Nissan and Honda models built outside of Japan are listed as "imports".

  • Stephen7 Stephen7 on Nov 09, 2013

    This post is so inaccurate I had to comment despite my seeing it a week late. The figures above do NOT include kei cars and are for SEPTEMBER not October. The overall market was up 17.3% in October YOY, as were kei cars. kei cars were up 17.4% in October. again the 25% is from September. As to the comments: 1. Honda's lineup has shifted to include more kei sales so the above figure looks worse than the overall picture. Honda is down YTD but only 5.7% when kei cars are included. Also the new Fit which accounts for at least a quarter of sales just debuted in September, so they will surely be in the black by year's end. 2. The import number above does include Japanese brands manfactured overseas but the number of real imports is typically 3/4 or more of this total. YTD imports are about 5% share, but this includes kei and commercial vehicles as well. It is a higher percentage if looking at just passenger vehicles, about 8% and growing. Imports are up 15.5% YTD way ahead of the overall market which is down 6.8%.

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