2013 (Half Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Makes and Models

Toyota and Honda were the top-selling car brands in Japan during the first six months of 2013. The Prius was Japan’s favorite car ahead of the Aqua.

Toyota and Honda were the top-selling car brands in Japan during the first six months of 2013. The Prius was Japan’s favorite car ahead of the Aqua.

Toyota remained Japan’s best-selling car manufacturer from January to June 2013. Honda narrowly maintained its second place ahead of Suzuki. New vehicle registrations in Japan contracted during the first half of 2013 by 8%. Imported brands showed the strongest gains although absolute numbers remain low. Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz were the most popular import car brands. The Toyota Prius regained its position from the Toyota Aqua as top-selling car model in Japan.

The Japanese Vehicle Market in 2013 (Half Year)

The Japanese vehicle market – passenger cars, trucks, and buses – contracted by 8% during the first half of 2013 to 2,711,648 new vehicle registrations.

Sales of vehicles in Japan were exceptionally high during the first half of 2012 – as a result the contraction in 2013 came as no surprise. After a contraction of 9.4% during the first quarter of 2013, the market was less severely down during the second quarter of the year.

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

The top-selling carmakers in Japan during the first six months of 2013 according to vehicle registration statistics released by JADA were:

  Manufacturer  HY2013   HY2012  %Change  Q1/2013 
  Total  2,711,648  2,947,356 -8  1,528,009
1 Toyota  783,136  893,063 -1.7  440,450
2 Honda  368,067  430,948 -14.6  214,146
3 Suzuki  360,726  367,052 -1.7  193,533
4 Nissan  347,646  366,618 -5.2  213,123
5 Daihatsu  342,223  381,658 -10.3  183,950
6 Mazda  116,961  119,518 -2.1  66,512
7 Subaru  95,334  94,717 0.7  53,885
8 Mitsubishi  69,613  77,915 -10.7  41,780
9 VW  32,842  28,897 13.7  18,148
10 Isuzu  28,419  30,234 -6  16,819
11 Mercedes-Benz  24,339  19,669 23.7  11,791
12 Lexus  22,890  22,863 0.1  12,191
13 Hino  22,382  21,276 5.2  13,668
14 BMW  20,887  19,284 8.3  10,011
15 Mistubishi_Fuso  16,819  18,264 -7.9  8,504
16 Audi  14,356  11,974 19.9  7,441
17 BMW MINI  8,298  8,242 0.7  4,037
18 Volvo  7,398  6,681 10.7  3,293
19 UD Trucks  4,181  4,845 -12.3  2,158
20 Peugeot  2,983  3,080 -3.1  1,562

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2013 (Six Months)

Sales of Toyota were only marginally down during the first half of 2013 and by outperforming the market Japan’s premier car manufacturer extended its dominance of the vehicle market. Half of the top-ten best-selling car models in Japan were Toyotas.

Honda performed worst of the top carmakers in Japan during the first six months of 2013. Honda sales were down 15% overall with its two most popular cars – the Fit and Freed fast falling out of favor with the Japanese public.

Suzuki sales were only marginally down year-on-year allowing the company to steal market share. Suzuki improved from fourth position last year to very nearly beating Honda for second place.

Nissan moved into fourth place, mostly due to Daihatsu – third strongest carmaker during the first half of 2012 – underperforming the overall market. Mazda sales were marginally weaker but strong enough to maintain its sixth place.

Subaru had flat but positive sales while Mitsubishi underperformed the overall market.

Volkswagen saw sales increase to take tenth place from Isuzu, which suffered from a downturn in demand for commercial vehicles.

Mercedes was the most-improved brand in Japan during the first half of 2013. With nearly a quarter more sales, Mercedes-Benz leapfrogged Lexus and Hino into eleventh place despite both Japanese manufacturers also increasing half-year sales.

BMW, Audi, and Volvo similarly saw an increase in car sales in Japan but without altering their relative sales positions.

Best-Selling Cars Models in Japan in 2013 (Half Year)

The most popular car models during the first six months of 2013 according to JADA were:

         
  Manufacturer Model Jan-June 2013 % Change
1 Toyota Prius 132,472 -27.1
2 Toyota Aqua 132,336 3.2
3 Nissan Note 82,466 141.6
4 Honda Fit 72,191 -45.9
5 Nissan Serena 49,241 -7.3
6 Toyota Crown 48,458 180.8
7 Toyota Vitz 45,996 -29
8 Toyota Corolla 40,244 7.7
9 Honda Freed 37,974 -46.2
10 Honda StepWGN 32,656 -9.8
         

Note: % Change compare first six months of 2012 and 2013.

Toyota’s hybrid Prius and smaller Aqua cars remain the most popular cars in Japan during the first half of 2013. Although the smaller Aqua was the top-seller during the first quarter of 2013, the Prius outsold its smaller competitor every month during the second quarter to regain the top position as Japan’s favorite car.

Overall the Prius sold fewer cars than a year ago. Toyota, however, still dominated the top-ten list with half the models coming from Japan’s largest manufacturer . Sales of the Aqua were flat but the new Crown – a large car popular with corporate Japan and taxis – almost doubled sales. A year ago, the Crown was only the 27thbest-selling car model in Japan.

Sales of the Vitz were also sharply down. The evergreen Corolla once again increased sales to strongly outperform the general market.

Nissan’s revamped Note hit the right spot with Japanese buyers. The Note improved from 11th a year ago to third most popular car model in Japan in 2013. Sales of the Serena was slightly down but ended a rank higher than a year ago.

Honda had the worst performance of the top-ten best sellers in Japan. The Fit is fast loosing popularity – sales were nearly halved with the Fit slipping from second most popular car in Japan a year ago to fourth in 2013. Sales of the Freed were also sharply down – it was the fourth most popular car mid-2013 – and the StepWGN also selling in lower numbers.