2013 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

In 2013, Toyota remained the top-selling carmaker in Japan. Honda and Suzuki were also popular with Japanese buyer with Volkswagen the top imported brand.

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept Car
Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle concept car shown at the Tokyo 2013 Car Show © Toyota Mo Co

2013 (full year) new vehicle registration data for Japan showed Toyota easily maintaining its position as the best-selling car manufacturer. Honda was again the second most popular brand in Japan while Suzuki and Nissan moved ahead of Daihatsu. Volkswagen was again the most popular imported car brand followed by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. New vehicles sales in Japan were flat in 2013 showing an increase of 0.1%. The Toyota Aqua was the most popular single car model in Japan in 2013.

The Japanese Car Market in 2013 (Full Year)

The Japanese car market in 2013 was flat with sales increasing by only 0.1% to 5,375,513 new vehicle registrations including cars, trucks and buses.

However, this was better than expected earlier in the year – the first three quarters of 2013 saw the market down 5% but strong sales during the last three months of 2013 pulled the market narrowly back into positive territory. The prediction for 2014 is slightly negative at -4%.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Japan in 2013 (Full Year)

The top-selling vehicle brands in Japan in 2013 according to car sales statistics released by JADA were:

Manufacturer  FY2013  FY2012  % Change
Total  5’375’513  5’369’720  0.1
1 Toyota  1’536’260  1’646’409  -6.7
2 Honda  763’388  745’204  2.4
3 Suzuki  701’472  673’138  4.2
Nissan  678’887  659’855  2.9
5 Daihatsu  662’690  677’171  -2.1
6 Mazda  228’089  218’361  4.5
7 Subaru  180’824  177’722  1.7
8 Mitsubishi  139’016  140’493  -1.1
9 VW  67’282  56’191  19.7
10 Isuzu  63’265  59’805  5.8
11 Mercedes-Benz  53’731  41’911  28.2
12 Hino  48’189  42’463  13.5
13 Lexus  46’772  43’657  7.1
14 BMW  46’037  41’102  12.0
15 Mitsubishi Fuso  36’731  34’715  5.8
16 Audi  28’676  24’163  18.7
17 Volvo  17’149  14’123  21.4
18 BMW MINI  16’982  16’212  4.7
19 UD Trucks  9’284  9’104  2.0
20 Fiat  7’007  5’667  23.6

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2013 (Full Year)

There were no changes in the car manufacturers on the top-20 list of best-selling vehicles in Japan in 2013 but a few brands changed position.

Toyota easily remained the top-selling vehicle brand in Japan in 2013. However, Toyota was the worst performer with sales down 6.7% – only two other top-20 brands also saw losses in 2013. The sheer dominance of the Japanese market by Toyota meant that all the positive growth of other companies where cancelled out resulting in a flat market overall in 2013.

Honda maintained its second place in Japan in 2013 with slightly stronger sales. However, Honda still sold only half the number of vehicles that Toyota did.

Last year’s number three manufacturer, Daihatsu, had weaker sales like Toyota, a company with which it has close ties. Daihatsu slipped down to fifth in 2013 allowing Suzuki and Nissan to move up a position each.

Mazda, Subaru, and Mitsubishi maintained its position from a year ago with Mitsubishi the only Japanese manufacturer to have recorded negative sales for the past two years.

Strong sales by Volkswagen saw the German company moved back to ninth place at the expense of Isuzu. Volkswagen thus remained the top imported car brand in Japan in 2013.

Mercedes-Benz saw the strongest growth of the top-selling car marques in Japan in 2013 allowing the German luxury car manufacturer to move up two places. Japanese competitor Lexus slipped two places from a year ago to behind Mercedes-Benz and truck maker Hino.

Fellow German luxury car brands BMW and Audi had solid growth in car sales in Japan in 2013 but maintained the positions from a year ago. Strong sales by Volvo saw the Swedish company moving ahead of Mini in Japan. Strong sales by Fiat saw the Italian company confirm its place on the top 20 list of best-selling car brands in Japan.

Luxury and Sports Car Sales in Japan in 2013

Despite the crowded roads and strictly enforced speed limits, wealthy Japanese car buyers have not lost their love of expensive European luxury and sports cars, as is clear from the following sales figures released by JADA:

Manufacturer  FY2013  FY2012  Change
Bentley  293  216  35.6
Bugatti  3  4  75.0
Ferrari  544  517  5.2
Lamborghini  190  177  7.3
Maserati  491  311  57.9
McLaren  84  42  200.0
Porsche  4’869  4’661  4.5
Rolls Royce  116  90  28.9
Source: JADA

The top-selling car model in Japan in 2013 was the smaller and more realistically priced Toyota Aqua.

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.