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2015 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands and Manufacturers

by Henk Bekker

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In 2015, Japan’s largest car manufacturers and brands were Toyota, Honda and Suzuki. The Japanese market shrank by 9% to just over 5 million vehicles. Japanese car manufacturers generally experienced sharp sales losses in Japan in 2015 but heavy and commercial vehicle sales were mostly stronger indicating some growth potential in the Japanese economy. Mercedes Benz replaced Volkswagen as the favorite imported car brand in Japan.

Toyota Geneva Auto Show

The Japanese New Vehicle Market in 2015 (Full Year)

New vehicle registrations in Japan decreased by 9.3% in 2015 to 5,045,511 vehicles. This figure includes cars (including Kei or minicars), trucks and buses.

The Japanese vehicle market was over half a million units smaller in 2015 than in 2014. Although sales remained above five million vehicles, 2015 was the weakest for four years.

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Japanese New Vehicle Registrations per Year

Japanese new vehicle registrations, including cars, Kei cars, trucks and buses were as follows per calendar year according to JADA figures:

Year

Vehicle Sales

% Change

2015

5,046,511

-9.3

2014

5,562,888

3.5

2013

5,375,513

0.1

2012

5,369,721

27.5

2011

4,210,220

-15.1

2010

4,956,136

7.5

2009

4,609,255

-9.3

2008

5,082,235

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Japan in 2015

The top-selling vehicle manufacturers and brands in Japan in 2015 according to new vehicle registration figures released by JADA were as follows:

Manufacturer

Sales 2015

Sales 2014

% Change

Total

5,046,511

5,562,887

-9.3

1

Toyota

1,449,067

1,509,149

-4

2

Honda

726,928

848,753

-14.4

3

Suzuki

636,360

787,361

-19.2

4

Daihatsu

610,396

708,179

-13.8

5

Nissan

589,099

670,315

-12.1

6

Mazda

245,437

224,359

9.4

7

Subaru

162,254

169,552

-4.3

8

Mitsubishi

102,009

125,083

-18.4

9

Isuzu

74,730

74,556

0.2

10

Mercedes-Benz

65,162

60,839

7.1

11

Hino

61,173

57,422

6.5

12

VW

54,766

67,438

-18.8

13

Lexus

48,231

44,246

9

14

BMW

46,229

45,645

1.3

15

Mitsubishi Fuso

44,230

42,509

4

16

Audi

29,414

31,413

-6.4

17

BMW MINI

21,083

17,596

19.8

18

Volvo

13,786

13,520

2

19

UD Trucks

11,001

11,072

-0.6

20

Jeep

7,132

6,692

6.6

Best-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2015

Although there were wide swings in the performances of various marques in Japan in 2015, the only change in the order of the top-ten largest car manufacturers was Mercedes Benz’s entry at 10 in place of Volkswagen. Truck and commercial vehicle manufacturers generally had stronger sales, which indicate some growth potential in the Japanese economy in coming months.

Toyota easily remained the largest vehicle manufacturer in Japan in 2015. Although Toyota sales were down 4%, this was solidly above the market average. Toyota was helped the popularity of new models but also its large commercial vehicle business.

Honda remained Japan’s second largest carmaker but sales were down by 15% leaving Honda almost exactly half the size of Toyota. Honda suffered from an aging model range – Japanese buyers generally prefer very new models,

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Suzuki, like Honda, suffered from the absence of a major commercial vehicle operation. Suzuki sales were down by a fifth – the worst decline of all top carmakers. Daihatsu and Nissan sales were similarly down by double digits.

Mazda was the best performer of the top brands in Japan in 2015 by increasing sales by 9.4%. Of the 20 largest carmakers in Japan, only Mini improved more.

Subaru sales were down 4.3% allowing it to gain some market share while Mitsubishi lost nearly a fifth of sales. Isuzu sales were flat.

Mercedes Benz increased sales by 7.1% and entered the top-ten list at the expense of Volkswagen that was for years the top foreign car brand in Japan. Volkswagen slipped from tenth to twelfth with the second weakest performance of the top brands.

The only other changes in the order of the top-20 best-selling car brands in Japan were Lexus again overtaking BMW and Jeep entering the list at the expense of Fiat.

Sports and Exotic Car Sales in Japan in 2015

Japan remained an important market for expensive sports and exotic cars in 2015. These expensive brands did not suffer any of the declines common among the mass brands.

A small selection from the JADA statistics of new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan in 2015:

Manufacturer

Sales 2015

Sales 2014

 % Change

Maserati

1,449

1,407

3

Ferrari

720

561

28.3

Bentley

370

317

16.7

Lamborghini

349

187

86.6

Rolls Royce

156

154

1.3

McLaren

90

88

2.3

Bugatti

5

2

150

See also: 2015 Japan: 30 Best-Selling Car Models

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