By on November 4, 2013
Manufacturer Month (A) Previous year (B) A / B (%) This year total Previous year total Year-on-year (%)
Daihatsu 194 241 80.5 1939 2303 84.2
Fuji Heavy Industries 13121 11851 110.7 99888 76721 130.2
Hino 5524 4704 117.4 34737 32041 108.4
Honda 39398 26186 150.5 238177 365294 65.2
Isuzu 8259 6915 119.4 47349 46223 102.4
Mazda 16669 15531 107.3 131909 136678 96.5
Mitsubishi 4194 3550 118.1 31980 40397 79.2
Mitsubishi Fuso 3803 2988 127.3 26533 26569 99.9
Nissan 47534 48502 98 362177 371501 97.5
Perch 6908 7289 94.8 61243 72230 84.8
Toyota 140228 124025 113.1 1166595 1295876 90
UD Trucks 1024 856 119.6 6672 6886 96.9
Imported car 37459 35841 104.5 257873 233609 110.4
Total 324315 288479 112.4 2467072 2706328 91.2

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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5 Comments on “Japanese Domestic Market Sales Up 17.3% In October, Kei Car Growth May Stall With New Taxes...”

  • avatar

    Any speculation as to the horrible year on year percentage at Honda? Everyone else seems to be laughing so far this year, except Honda, and to a lesser degree Toyota in Japan.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Honda is just now recovering from the tsunami. Kei’s are JDM only which means that there are no offshore plants or suppliers for their assembly.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Honda’s home market sales are down a whopping 35%! That should be a big story, and surely has little or nothing to do with the tsunami. Even if their Kei cars are up, the sales and income from them have to be much smaller.

        The import total includes Japanese brands built off shore. Imports from non-Japanese brands remain very low due to trade barriers that are obscure to casual observers but very real to would be importers.

  • avatar

    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”.

  • avatar

    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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