2010 Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands

Full-year car sales statistics show Toyota as the best-selling vehicle manufacturer in Japan in 2010. The Toyota Prius was Japan’s favorite car model.

Toyota Prius 2010
© Toyota Motor

In 2010 Toyota was again easily the strongest vehicle manufacturer in Japan. Full-year car sales statistics confirmed that Toyota has sold more vehicles than second-placed Honda and third-placed Nissan combined. The Toyota Prius was Japan’s favorite car in 2010 setting a new record for sales of a single model in a calendar year. The passenger car market in Japan grew by over 10 percent in 2010.

According to new vehicle registration statistics released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA) 4,956,136 vehicles were sold in Japan in 2010. This is an increase of 7.5 percent over Japanese vehicle sales in 2009.

New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan grew by 10.9 percent in 2010 to 2,927,602 cars sold. This figure excludes the 1.7 million minicars (Kei), which was sold in Japan in 2010.

List of the Top 20 Best-Selling Vehicle Manufacturers in Japan in 2010

The list of the top twenty best-selling vehicle brands in Japan in 2010 according to JADA statistics is:

Vehicle Manufacturer Cars Sold % Change from 2009
1 Toyota 1,531,722 13.8
2 Honda 647,289 3.5
3 Nissan 645,369 7.7
4 Suzuki 619,517 0.4
5 Daihatsu 608,510 2.1
6 Mazda 223,747 9.5
7 Subaru 176,698 1.9
8 Mitsubishi 176,065 10.2
9 Volkswagen 46,707 23.1
10 Isuzu 44,021 20
11 Lexus 33,365 18.5
12 BMW 32,426 11.5
13 Mercedes-Benz 30,936 7.6
14 Hino 29,164 19.4
15 Mitsubishi Fuso 24,761 12
16 Audi 16,854 4.2
17 Mini 11,338 3.1
18 UD Trucks 8,170 17.7
19 Volvo 7,894 24.2
20 Chevrolet 6,463 -21.6

Toyota Dominated the Japanese Car Market in 2010

The Japanese new vehicle market increased by 7.5 percent in 2010 but vehicle sales were very weak in the final few months of the year hinting that 2011 may be very difficult. Almost all vehicle manufacturers managed to increase the number of vehicles sold in Japan in 2010.

Despite embarrassing recalls, Toyota continues to dominate the Japanese new vehicle market in 2010. Toyota was the top seller in all categories (except Kei cars) by selling 1,415,439 cars in Japan in 2010, 112,667 cargo vehicles, and 3,616 buses.

Honda was the second strongest vehicle manufacturer and narrowly outsold Nissan. Honda sold 485,603 cars in Japan in 2010 versus 442,145 cars sold by Nissan.

German Cars Popular in Japan in 2010

German car brands Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Mini (owned by BMW) were the strongest car importers in Japan in 2010. BMW and Mercedes sales came close to those achieved by Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus.

Volkswagen had a good year with sales increasing by almost a quarter to make Volkswagen the only foreign brand in the list of top 10 best-selling cars in Japan in 2010. However, in Japan Toyota still managed to sell around 33 times more vehicles in 2010 than Europe’s strongest car manufacturer.

The Toyota Prius was the favorite car model of Japanese buyers for the second year running. In 2010, Toyota sold 315,669 Prius cars in Japan – the highest number ever achieved by a single car model in a calendar year in Japan. The still popular Toyota Corolla set the previous record of 300,008 cars sold in 1990.

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.