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%.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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