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%.

  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
  • GregLocock Car companies can only really sell cars that people who are new car buyers will pay a profitable price for. As it turns out fewer and fewer new car buyers want sedans. Large sedans can be nice to drive, certainly, but the number of new car buyers (the only ones that matter in this discussion) are prepared to sacrifice steering and handling for more obvious things like passenger and cargo space, or even some attempt at off roading. We know US new car buyers don't really care about handling because they fell for FWD in large cars.
  • Slavuta Why is everybody sweating? Like sedans? - go buy one. Better - 2. Let CRV/RAV rust on the dealer lot. I have 3 sedans on the driveway. My neighbor - 2. Neighbors on each of our other side - 8 SUVs.
  • Theflyersfan With sedans, especially, I wonder how many of those sales are to rental fleets. With the exception of the Civic and Accord, there are still rows of sedans mixed in with the RAV4s at every airport rental lot. I doubt the breakdown in sales is publicly published, so who knows... GM isn't out of the sedan business - Cadillac exists and I can't believe I'm typing this but they are actually decent - and I think they are making a huge mistake, especially if there's an extended oil price hike (cough...Iran...cough) and people want smaller and hybrids. But if one is only tied to the quarterly shareholder reports and not trends and the big picture, bad decisions like this get made.