2012 First Half Best Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands in Japan

Toyota remained the strongest car manufacturer in Japan during the first six months of 2012. Honda was the second best-selling brand with Volkswagen Japan’s favorite imported car.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid at the Geneve Auto Salon 2012

During the first half of 2012, the Japanese vehicle market continues to show strong growth and recovery from the difficult 2011 when the tsunami in Japan and flooding elsewhere in Asia severely disrupted car production. Japan’s two largest motor vehicle manufacturers , Toyota and Honda, continue to dominate the market during the first half of 2012. The total Japanese vehicle market for the first six months of 2012 was just shy of 3 million new registrations.

The Japanese Car Market during the First Half of 2012

The Japanese car market continues to show significant growth even if the effects of last year’s tsunami and other natural disasters are taken into account. However, the market was significantly weaker during the second quarter with 1,104,000 new vehicle registrations versus 1,685,000 during the first quarter of 2012.

The Japanese total vehicle market (including cars, trucks, and buses) grew by 54% to 2,95 million units during the first half of 2012. Even taking into account the disruption and aftereffects of events in 2011, this is a very strong performance.

According to JADA statistics, the total Japanese vehicle market for the first six months in previous years:

  • 2012 – 2,947,357
  • 2011 – 1,191,245
  • 2010 – 2,656,828
  • 2009 – 2,186,738
  • 2008 – 2,786,173
  • 2007 – 2,842,519

Best-Selling Japanese Car Manufacturers in 2012 (First Half)

The top-selling motor vehicle manufacturers and brands in Japan during the first six months of 2012, according to car sales statistics released by JADA, were:

Manufacturer /Car Brand January to June % Change
  2012 2011
  Total 2,947,357 1,919,245 53.6
1 Toyota 893,063 482,354 85.1
2 Honda 430,948 240,187 79.4
3 Daihatsu 381,658 252,893 50.9
4 Suzuki 367,052 265,148 38.4
5 Nissan 366,619 279,619 31.1
6 Mazda 119,518 88,494 35.1
7 Subaru 94,717 74,243 27.6
8 Mitsubishi 77,915 77,902 0
9 Isuzu 30,234 17,429 73.5
10 VW 28,897 24,007 20.4
11 Lexus 22,863 17,745 28.8
12 Hino 21,276 13,705 55.2
13 Mercedes-Benz 19,669 15,205 29.4
14 BMW 19,284 15,418 25.1
15 Mitsubishi Fuso 18,264 10,507 73.8
16 Audi 11,974 10,085 18.7
17 BMW MINI 8,242 6,536 26.1
18 Volvo 6,681 5,019 33.1
Only manufacturers selling over 5,000 units. Source: JADA

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2012 (Half Year)

The Japanese vehicle market grew by 54% during the first half of 2012. Rather uniquely, all manufacturers selling more than 5,000 vehicles during the first six months of 2012 in Japan showed growth.

However, with market leaders Toyota (+85%) and Honda (+79%) dominating the market, most other brands actually underperformed the overall market. Mitsubishi performed worst by selling only 13 more cars this year than in the troubled 2011.

Japan’s favorite imported cars remain German. Volkswagen, Europe’s largest car manufacturer, and the strongest selling brand was again the tenth-largest vehicle brand in Japan . However, VW has a market share of less than 1% of the Japanese vehicle market. Mercedes-Benz narrowly outsold BMW in Japan at the beginning of 2012 – a reverse from last year.

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

Wealthy Japanese consumers continue to enjoy exotic and luxury imported sports cars and limousines. First-half sales figures for 2012 (2011) for a few more expensive brands in Japan include:

  • Bentley – 79 (44)
  • Bugatti – 2 (0)
  • Ferrari – 234 (203)
  • Lamborghini – 78 (47)
  • Maserati – 148 (125)
  • Maybach – 6 (6)
  • McLaren – 1 (0)
  • Rolls Royce – 40 (47)