2012 (Q3) Japan: Best Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

Toyota, followed by Honda and Daihatsu, remained the top-selling vehicle manufacturer in Japan during the first nine months of 2012.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Toyota Yaris Hybrid Photo: Toyota

Toyota continues to lead the Japanese vehicle market during the first nine months of 2012. Honda was the second best-selling carmaker followed by Daihatsu and Suzuki. German manufacturers Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi were the only foreign car brands with any significant presence in Japan. The total vehicle market expanded by 39% during the first three quarters of 2012.

The Japanese Vehicle Market in 2012 (Q3)

Japan’s total new vehicle registrations increased by 38.7% to 4,277,944 units during the first nine months of 2012. These car sales statistics released by JADA include all new cars, trucks, and buses.

The Japanese car market remains skewed by the influence of the tsunami of 2011, which has influenced demand and supply throughout last year and into the start of 2012. Mid-year, the market was up 54% over 2011.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2012 (Q3)

The top-selling vehicle manufacturers and brands in Japan from January to September 2012 according to JADA were:

 January to September (Q1-3)% Change
 20122011
 Total4,277,9443,084,33638.7
1Toyota1,310,007813,80861.0
2Honda606,366374,48561.9
3Daihatsu543,728395,45537.5
4Suzuki535,843412,63329.9
5Nissan529,805444,54819.2
6Mazda178,214147,68420.7
7Subaru137,646116,80717.8
8Mitsubishi111,450115,857-3.8
9Isuzu46,22330,68050.7
10VW41,97137,29012.6
11Lexus34,40032,0207.4
12Hino32,04124,93028.5
13Mercedes-Benz30,64124,64524.3
14BMW29,52424,00523.0
15Mitsubishi Fuso26,56918,35844.7
16Audi18,35616,21413.2
17BMW MINI12,12410,57614.6
18Volvo10,3158,17226.2

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2012 (Q3)

Toyota and Honda easily maintained their positions at the top of the best-sellers list in Japan during the first nine months of 2012. Both manufacturers strongly outperformed the overall market with increases of over 60% in sales.

With the exception of Mitsubishi, all other major car manufacturers saw positive growth in Japan. However, almost all underperformed the overall market, which is very much controlled by the dominance of Toyota.

Volvo (and Mini if considered British) was the only foreign non-German car brand to have sold more than 10,000 cars in Japan during the first nine months of 2012. Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Mini all saw solid growth. Foreign brands, as well as Lexus, were less subjected to supply problems in 2011 and thus had above average strong sales last year.

Top-Selling Exotic and Luxury Cars in Japan in 2012 (Q3)

Japan’s playboys and rich had not lost their taste for exotic and luxury imported cars during 2012. Some figures released by JADA for the first three quarters of 2012 (2011) include:

  • Bentley – 147 (85)
  • Bugatti – 4 (0)
  • Ferrari – 380 (294)
  • Lamborghini – 126 (69)
  • Maserati – 239 (200)
  • Maybach – 9 (9)
  • McLaren – 24 (0)
  • Rolls Royce – 59 (63)

The Toyota Prius remained Japan’s favorite car for the first nine months of 2012, although the hybrid-only Toyota Aqua is fast catching up and has pushed the Honda Fit into third place.