The Japanese car market grew by half with Toyota and Honda sales up two-thirds during the first quarter of 2012. The Toyota Prius and Honda Fit remained the best selling models.
2012 started very good for the Japanese car market. During the first three months of the year, Japanese new vehicle registrations increased by nearly 50%. Toyota maintained its premier position while Honda regained second spot – both companies saw sales increase by just over two-thirds from a year ago. The Toyota Prius and Honda Fit were again best-selling passenger vehicles in Japan.
The Japanese Car Market in Q1/2012
During the first quarter of 2012 the Japanese total vehicle market increased by 47.5% to 1,687,438 new vehicle registrations (including passenger and goods vehicles). This is a remarkable performance but it must be born in mind that the Japanese car market was very week during the first three months of 2011, even before the destruction of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011.
The remarkable recovery can be ascribed to both the weak figures from 2011 but also the need to replace vehicles following the tsunami. Supply lines were severely interrupted and power shortages in Japan led to production backlogs that lasted through much of the year.
The Japanese car industry has been recovering since the end of 2011 and it seems that buyers again have the confidence to replace aging vehicles. New hybrid vehicles also helped the market with many hybrid vehicles available on the list of best-selling cars in Japan.
Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands in Japan, Q1/2012
Car sales statistics released by JADA show the list of the top-twenty best-selling vehicle manufacturers and brands in Japan during the first quarter of 2012 as follows:
|2012 (Q1)||2011 (Q1)||Change %|
The remarkable recovery of both Toyota and Honda, as well a the shear high volume of cars produced by Japan’s two leading motor vehicle manufacturers, meant that virtually all other car makers underperformed the main market despite all top twenty vehicle producers increasing sales during the first quarter of 2012.
Toyota maintained its top position as largest vehicle producer in Japan while Honda regained second place, from fifth last year. Mitsubishi was the only top vehicle producer to have failed to increase sales by at least ten percent.
The top car import brands in Japan during the first quarter of 2012 were Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, and BMW. All managed to increase sales by over 40% but still underperformed the general market. Mini sales ballooned by 63%. French producer Peugeot managed to capture almost a thousandth percent of the Japanese car market.
Top-10 Best-Selling Car Models in Japan, Q1/2012
The best-selling car models in Japan during the first quarter of 2012 according to JADA new passenger vehicle registration statistics were:
|Sales in 2012||January||February||March||Q1/2012|
The Toyota Prius continued to be the most popular car model in Japan with sales more than double last year’s figures. The Honda Fit (Jazz in many overseas markets), which is available as hybrid and regular petrol engines, was again second.
A model to watch is the Toyota Aqua, launched in December 2011. It has been described as a small Prius and is also a hybrid-only car. Toyota reportedly has a production backlog of four months and sales have easily exceeded the pre-launch targets of 12,000 per month.