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2014 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands and Manufacturers

by Henk Bekker

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In 2014, Toyota, Honda and Suzuki remained the largest carmakers in Japan. The Japanese vehicle market expanded 3.5% to 5.5 million vehicles. The Toyota Aqua was again the most popular car model in Japan in 2014.

Mitsubishi Concept GC PHEV at Geneva Auto Salon

The Japanese Vehicle Market in 2014 (Full Year)

New vehicle registrations in Japan increased by 3.5% in 2014 to 5,562,887 vehicles including passenger cars, trucks and buses. Manufacturers of commercial vehicles performed strongly.

The Japanese car market in 2014 was overshadowed by the increase of sales taxes on April 1, 2014. This led to frontloading during the first quarter of the year when vehicle sales were up 20%. For the rest of the year, the Japanese vehicle market was mostly contracting but remained positive for the full calendar year.

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Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Japan in 2014 (Full Year)

The top 20 largest vehicle brands in Japan in 2014 according to new vehicle registration data released byJADA were:

Rank 2014

Manufacturer

Sales 2014

Sales 2013

% Change

Total

5,562,887

5,375,513

3.5

1

Toyota

1,509,149

1,536,260

-1.8

2

Honda

848,753

763,388

11.2

3

Suzuki

787,361

701,472

12.2

4

Daihatsu

708,179

662,690

6.9

5

Nissan

670,315

678,887

-1.3

6

Mazda

224,359

228,089

-1.6

7

Subaru

169,552

180,824

-6.2

8

Mitsubishi

125,083

139,016

-10

9

Isuzu

74,556

63,265

18.8

10

VW

67,438

67,282

0.2

11

Mercedes-Benz

60,839

53,731

13.2

12

Hino

57,422

48,189

19.2

13

BMW

45,645

46,037

-0.9

14

Lexus

44,246

46,772

-5.4

15

Mitsubishi Fuso

42,509

36,731

15.7

16

Audi

31,413

28,676

9.5

17

BMW MINI

17,596

16,982

3.6

18

Volvo

13,520

17,149

-21.2

19

UD Trucks

11,072

9,284

19.3

20

Fiat

7,289

7,007

4

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2014

There were only minor changes in the rank order of the top car marques in Japan in 2014 but the various carmakers had quite different results.

Market leader Toyota had slightly weaker sales in 2014 but due to its size, a 1.8% reduction in sales results in nearly 30,000 fewer vehicles sold.

In stark contrast, the strong performance by Honda and Suzuki added nearly 90,000 cars each to the Japanese market in 2014. Daihatsu also sold more cars in 2014 allowing it to snatch fourth place from Nissan, which had slightly weaker sales.

Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi maintained the positions from last year despite weaker sales. Mitsubishi was down by 10% – the worst performance of any Japanese brand. Of the top-20 brands, only Volvo sales were down more.

A strong performance by Isuzu allows the Japanese manufacturer of mostly commercial vehicles to snatch ninth place back from Volkswagen. VW sales in Japan in 2014 were flat.

Mercedes Benz had another strong year in Japan in 2014. Mercedes sales in Japan increased by a third over the past two years.

Lexus had a weak year in Japan in 2014 and as a result lost 13th place to BMW despite the German manufacturer selling slightly fewer cars. Audi and Mini sales increased.

There were no further rank changes amongst the top 20 brands in Japan in 2014. The best performances came from heavy vehicle producers UD Trucks (+19.3%), Hino (+19.2%), Isuzu (+18.8%) and Mitsubishi Fuso (+15.7%). The weakest performances were by Volvo (-21.2%) and Mitsubishi (-10%).

Car Sales of Luxury Brands in Japan in 2014

Despite the crowded roads and very strict speed limits in Japan, luxury and sports car brands remain very popular in Japan. Maserati had a very good year while Rolls Royce also did remarkably well too. A few sales figures from the JADA statistics:

Marque

Sales 2014

Sales 2013

% Change

Maserati

1,407

491

186.6

Ferrari

561

544

3.1

Bentley

317

293

8.2

Lamborghini

187

190

-1.6

Rolls Royce

154

116

32.8

McLaren

88

84

4.8

Bugatti

2

3

-33.3

Japan’s favorite car models in 2014 were the much more reasonably priced Toyota Aqua and Honda Fit.

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