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
1Toyota 783,136 893,063-1.7 440,450
2Honda 368,067 430,948-14.6 214,146
3Suzuki 360,726 367,052-1.7 193,533
4Nissan 347,646 366,618-5.2 213,123
5Daihatsu 342,223 381,658-10.3 183,950
6Mazda 116,961 119,518-2.1 66,512
7Subaru 95,334 94,7170.7 53,885
8Mitsubishi 69,613 77,915-10.7 41,780
9VW 32,842 28,89713.7 18,148
10Isuzu 28,419 30,234-6 16,819
11Mercedes-Benz 24,339 19,66923.7 11,791
12Lexus 22,890 22,8630.1 12,191
13Hino 22,382 21,2765.2 13,668
14BMW 20,887 19,2848.3 10,011
15Mistubishi_Fuso 16,819 18,264-7.9 8,504
16Audi 14,356 11,97419.9 7,441
17BMW MINI 8,298 8,2420.7 4,037
18Volvo 7,398 6,68110.7 3,293
19UD Trucks 4,181 4,845-12.3 2,158
20Peugeot 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:

 ManufacturerModelJan-June 2013% Change

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.

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.