2013 (Q3) Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

Toyota leads car sales in Japan from January to September 2013 with the Aqua now Japan鈥檚 favorite car model ahead of the Prius.

Toyota Sign

The first nine months of 2013 saw the Japanese new car market decline by 5%. The best-selling marques Toyota and Honda suffered a sales decline of around 10% but car sales of most other brands were flat or stronger with import brands showing strong growth in Japan over the first three quarters of 2013. The Toyota Aqua has now established itself as Japan鈥檚 favorite car ahead of the Toyota Prius.

The Japanese New Car Market in 2013 (Q3)

The Japanese car market shrunk by 4.8% between January and September 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During the first nine months of 2013, new vehicle registrations in Japan totaled 4,073,367 including cars, trucks, and buses.

Mid-2103, the Japanese car market was 8% down on the first six months of 2012 but a very strong (+17%) September 2013 contributed to the smaller than expected decline over the first three quarters of the year.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Japan in 2013 (Q3)

The best-selling vehicle brands in Japan during the first nine months of 2013 according to sales figures released by聽JATO聽were:

January to September
聽2013 % Change 2012 2011
Total 聽4,073,267 -4.8 4,277,944 3,084,336
1 Toyota 聽1,174,213 -10.4 1,310,007 813,808
2 Honda 聽547,808 -9.7 606,366 374,485
3 Suzuki 聽534,479 -0.3 535,843 412,633
4 Nissan 聽528,034 -0.3 529,805 444,548
5 Daihatsu 聽505,476 -7 543,728 395,455
6 Mazda 聽177,055 -0.7 178,214 147,684
7 Subaru 聽143,073 3.9 137,646 116,807
8 Mitsubishi 聽108,250 -2.9 111,450 115,857
9 VW 聽48,384 15.3 41,971 37,290
10 Isuzu 聽47,350 2.4 46,223 30,680
11 Mercedes-Benz 聽39,179 27.9 30,641 24,645
12 Lexus 聽35,053 1.9 34,400 32,020
13 Hino 聽34,737 8.4 32,041 24,930
14 BMW 聽33,059 12 29,524 24,005
15 Mitsubishi Fuso 聽26,533 -0.1 26,569 18,358
16 Audi 聽21,361 16.4 18,356 16,214
17 Volvo 聽12,728 23.4 10,315 8,172
18 BMW MINI 聽12,393 2.2 12,124 10,576

Source: JATO

Best-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2013 (Q3)

Market leaders Toyota and Honda maintained their relative sales positions from a year ago despite both loosing around 10% in sales in Japan between January and September 2013. Last year鈥檚 number three, Daihatsu, also lost significant sales and slipped to fifth place this year.

Other brands had mostly flat or stronger sales. Import brands gained particularly with Mercedes-Benz (+28%) showing the strongest increase in sales to move ahead of Lexus and Hino. Volvo sales were also much improved.

Top-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2013 (Q3)

Japan鈥檚 favorite car models during the first nine months of 2013 according to car sales statistics released by JATO were:

Manufacturer Model Jan-Jun 聽July聽 聽August聽 聽September聽 Jan-Sep
1 Toyota Aqua 132,336 聽28,657 聽21,142 聽26,543 208,678
2 Toyota Prius 132,472 聽23,067 聽16,759 聽23,069 195,367
3 Nissan Note 82,466 聽11,712 聽8,783 聽15,660 118,621
4 Honda Fit 72,191 聽11,553 聽6,193 聽19,388 109,325
5 Nissan Serena 49,241 聽9,005 聽6,610 聽10,865 75,721
6 Toyota Vitz 45,996 聽9,181 聽5,324 聽6,869 67,370
7 Toyota Crown 48,458 聽6,724 聽5,119 聽6,389 66,690
8 Toyota Corolla 40,244 聽7,331 聽6,865 聽10,784 65,224
9 Honda Freed 37,974 聽2,740 聽5,782 聽7,909 54,405
10 Honda Step WGN 32,656 聽6,715 聽4,384 聽8,237 51,992

Source: JATO

The Toyota Aqua is now Japan鈥檚 favorite car ahead of the Toyota Prius, which led the tables a year ago. The gap between the two models are about the same as it was when the Aqua led the Prius during the first quarter of 2013 but the Prius was again ahead mid-year.

The Honda Fit slipped one place but the new third-generation model was launched in September and sold strongly with potential for a good finish to the year. The Note improved from 8th聽a year ago.

The Serena and Vitz swopped places while the Toyota Crown is a new entrant ahead of the evergreen Corolla. The Freed slipped from fourth a year ago while the Stepwagon is down one place. The Mazda Demio slipped out of the top-ten list of Japan鈥檚 favorite car models.