Best-Selling Cars

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2016 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

by Henk Bekker

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Lexus LF-FC at Geneva 2016

In 2016, Toyota, Honda and Suzuki were the best-selling car brands with top car manufacturer Toyota gaining market share in a slightly weaker market. Of the top-selling car brands in Japan in 2016, Toyota, Daihatsu and Isuzu increased sales while Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Nissan had much weaker sales. Mercedes Benz was again the leading foreign brand in Japan while Volkswagen continued to loose market share in Japan. The Toyota Prius was the best-selling car model in Japan in 2016.

Japanese New Vehicle Market in 2016 (Full Year)

New vehicle registrations in Japan in 2016 contracted by 1.5% to 4,970,260 vehicles including 2,801,491 passenger cars, 1,725,462 mini cars, 427,809 trucks and 15,498 buses.

In 2016, new vehicle sales in Japan were below 5 million for the first time since 2011 but full year figures were better than feared earlier in 2016.

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New vehicle registrations in Japan were as follows since 2008:

Year

Vehicle Sales

% Change

2016

4,970,260

-1.5

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 2016

The 20 best-selling vehicle brands in Japan in 2016 according to new vehicle registration data released by JADA were as follows:

Manufacturer

Sales 2016

Sales 2015

% Change 15/16

Total

4,970,260

5,046,511

-1.5

1

Toyota

1,528,173

1,449,067

5.5

2

Honda

707,044

726,928

-2.7

3

Suzuki

622,866

636,360

-2.1

4

Daihatsu

586,974

610,396

3.8

5

Nissan

534,415

589,099

-9.3

6

Mazda

201,404

245,437

-17.9

7

Subaru

155,778

162,254

-4.0

8

Mitsubishi

85,720

102,009

-16.0

9

Isuzu

81,128

74,730

8.6

10

Mercedes-Benz

67,386

65,162

3.4

11

Hino

63,310

61,173

3.5

12

Lexus

52,150

48,231

8.1

13

BMW

50,571

46,229

9.4

14

VW

47,324

54,766

-13.8

15

Mitsubishi Fuso

45,210

44,230

2.2

16

Audi

28,502

29,414

-3.1

17

BMW MINI

24,548

21,083

16.4

18

Volvo

14,914

13,786

8.2

19

UD Trucks

10,529

11,001

-4.3

20

Jeep

9,392

7,132

31.7

Top 20 Best-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2016 (Full Year)

There were hardly any changes in the rank order of the top 20 best-selling marques in Japan in 2016 compared to a year ago. The only change was Volkswagen slipping another two rank positions down allowing Lexus and BMW to each move up one place.

However, the various manufacturers had markedly different results in Japan in 2016. Toyota easily maintained its position as Japan’s leading carmaker. Toyota increased sales by 5.5% and Toyota sales again exceeded 1.5 million vehicles for the year. In a contracting market, Toyota increased market share further.

In contrast, Honda and Suzuki both had weaker sales. However, the decline was less severe than a year ago when Honda sales were down 14% and Suzuki down 19%.

Daihatsu had stronger sales in Japan in 2016 but Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi all had much weaker sales. Commercial vehicle manufacturer Isuzu had higher sales.

Mercedes Benz consolidated its position as the top-selling foreign car brand in Japan in 2016. It is the second year for Mercedes Benz as Japan’s favorite imported brand and on the top-ten list.

Other luxury car brands Lexus and BMW had strong sales and improved one rank position. In contrast Audi sales were weaker and Volkswagen had a second year of double-digit declines. VW fell two rank positions for the second consecutive year – in 2014 VW was the tenth largest car brand in Japan and the top foreign marque.

BMW Mini and Jeep were the most-improved brands in Japan in 2016 but the total numbers paled into insignificance compared to the top brands.

Sports and Exotic Car Brands in Japan in 2016

Although slipping behind in volume terms with China, Japan remains a very imported single country market for many top sports and exotic car manufacturers.

A small selection of luxury brands from JADA new vehicle registration statistics for Japan in 2016:

Manufacturer

Sales 2016

Sales 2015

% Change 15/16

Maserati

1,323

1,449

-7.0

Ferrari

678

720

-5.8

Bentley

434

370

17.3

Lamborghini

382

349

9.5

Rolls Royce

223

156

56.0

McLaren

179

90

98.8

Bugatti

5

5

0.0

The Toyota Prius regained its position as Japan’s favorite car model in 2016.

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