2013 (Q1) Japan: Best-Selling Vehicle Producers and Car Models

First quarter 2013 saw Toyota remaining the top-selling vehicle producer in Japan followed by Honda and Nissan. The Toyota Aqua and Prius were Japan鈥檚 favorite car models.

Subaru VIZIV Concept Car
Subaru VIZIV Concept Car

Toyota, Honda, and Nissan remained Japan鈥檚 top motor vehicle manufacturers during the first three months of 2013. In a weaker market, Hino and Lexus were the only Japanese vehicle producers able to increase sales while German carmakers Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi all increased new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan during the first three months of 2013. The Toyota Aqua replaced the Toyota Prius as Japan鈥檚 favorite car model.

The Japanese Vehicle Market in 2013 (Q1)

The total Japanese motorized vehicle market, including passenger cars, commercial vehicle, and buses, contracted by 9.4% to 1,528,009 new vehicle registrations during the first three months of 2013.

Although there is undoubtedly weakness in the Japanese vehicle market, it should be born in mind that the first quarter of 2012 was extraordinary with almost 50% growth over the troubled 2011 when economic problems combined with natural disasters (earthquake and tsunami) resulted in a very depressed market.

Best-Selling Car Producers in Japan in 2013 (Q1)

The top-selling vehicle producers in Japan from January to March 2013 according to car sales statistics released by JADA were:

Manufacturer 聽Q1/2013 % 聽Q1/2012 聽Q1/2011
Total 聽1,528,009 -9.4 聽1,687,438 聽1,144,384
1 Toyota 聽440,450 -15.4 聽520,569 聽310,393
2 Honda 聽214,146 -11.7 聽242,517 聽145,401
3 Nissan 聽213,123 -5.7 聽225,944 聽161,887
4 Suzuki 聽193,533 -0.7 聽194,844 聽151,750
5 Daihatsu 聽183,950 -10.7 聽205,876 聽148,309
6 Mazda 聽66,512 -3.1 聽68,632 聽53,037
7 Subaru 聽53,885 -13.6 聽62,394 聽42,881
8 Mitsubishi 聽41,780 -13.4 聽48,241 聽44,530
9 VW 聽18,148 8.6 聽16,713 聽11,677
10 Isuzu 聽16,819 -8.6 聽18,396 聽11,321
11 Hino 聽13,668 10 聽12,423 聽9,749
12 Lexus 聽12,191 0.3 聽12,149 聽10,508
13 Mercedes-Benz 聽11,791 8.5 聽10,864 聽7,556
14 BMW 聽10,011 5.6 聽9,478 聽6,859
15 Mistubishi Fuso 聽8,504 -13.1 聽9,785 聽6,535
16 Audi 聽7,441 16 聽6,416 聽5,234
17 BMW MINI 聽4,037 -7.1 聽4,346 聽2,669
18 Volvo 聽3,293 -2.1 聽3,365 聽2,279
19 UD Trucks 聽2,158 -13.2 聽2,487 聽1,964
20 Peugeot 聽1,562 4.5 聽1,635 聽1,449

Top Carmakers in Japan in 2013 (Q1)

Toyota, not surprisingly, remained the top vehicle maker in japan during the first three months of 2013. However, Toyota was the worst performer of the top 20 producers in Japan. Honda similarly underperformed the overall market but maintained second place on the list.

A resurgent Nissan ended just a thousand vehicles shy of regaining its traditional position as second strongest vehicle producer in Japan. Flat sales saw Suzuki overtake Daihatsu, which has a weak quarter. Mazda performed less bad than most while weak performances by Subaru and Mitsubishi did not result in any relative position changes.

Volkswagen remained the strongest imported car brand in Japan during the first three months of 2013. An increase in sales saw it overtake Isuzu to become the ninth largest carmaker in Japan.

Truck maker Hino and luxury car producer Lexus were the only two Japanese manufacturers to have showed an increase in unit sales during the first quarter of 2013. Strong growth by Mercedes-Benz allowed the German carmaker to move closer to Lexus, while BMW could overtake truck maker Mitsubishi Fuso. Audi show the strongest growth of all top car brands in Japan.

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2013 (Q1)

Japan鈥檚 ten favorite car models during January, February, and March according to car sales statistics released by JADA were:

Make & Model 聽January聽 聽February聽 聽March聽聽 聽Q1/2013
1 Toyota Aqua 聽22,466 聽24,526 聽33,693 聽80,685
2 Toyota Prius 聽17,733 聽23,473 聽32,527 聽73,733
3 Nissan Note 聽14,529 聽16,497 聽21,336 聽52,362
4 Honda Fit 聽8,834 聽12,246 聽20,327 聽41,407
5 Nissan Serena 聽8,010 聽11,148 聽12,905 聽32,063
6 Toyota Vitz 聽5,825 聽7,974 聽12,301 聽26,100
7 Honda Freed 聽5,656 聽7,282 聽10,403 聽23,341
8 Toyota Crown 聽5,327 聽9,668 聽11,592 聽26,587
9 Toyota Corolla 聽4,832 聽7,002 聽10,432 聽22,266
10 Honda Stepwagon 聽4,659 聽7,155 聽9,046 聽20,860

Compared to full year 2012, the Toyota Aqua has now firmly established itself as Japan鈥檚 favorite car ahead of its larger sibling Toyota Prius, which has now slipped to second place. The new Nissan Note shot up from seventh last year to third.

The aging Honda Fit slipped one place to fourth, selling only half the number of Aquas moved during the first quarter of 2013. The Nissan Serena and Toyota Vitz swapper positions while the Honda Freed slipped from fourth place last year.

The Toyota Crown shot up from 26th聽place last year by selling only around three thousand cars fewer during the first three months of 2013 as was sold during the whole of 2012. The evergreen Toyota Corolla slipped on position.

The Honda Stepwagon remains Japan鈥檚 favorite minivan but slipped one position, while the Toyota Vellfire slipped out of the top ten list altogether. The Subaru Impreza just missed out as the eleventh most popular car in Japan.