2016 (Q3) Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

Subaru XV Concept 2016 GenevaToyota, Honda and Suzuki remained the top-selling car brands in Japan during the first nine months of 2016 with the Prius again the favorite model. New vehicle registrations in Japan contracted by 3.4% during the first three quarters of 2016 to 3,776,386 vehicles. Toyota was the only top brand to have increased sales in 2016 but manufacturers of heavy goods vehicles also had higher sales. Many foreign brands also had strong increases in sales but the actual numbers are relatively small.

Japanese Vehicle Market in 2016 (Q1-Q3)

New vehicle registrations in Japan contracted by 3.4% to 3,776,386 vehicles including passenger cars, heavy goods vehicles and buses during the first nine months of 2016.

During the first three quarters of 2015, vehicle sales in Japan amounted to 3,908,897 vehicles while in 2014 the total was 4,318,311 vehicles.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2016 (Q1-3)

The top-selling vehicle manufacturers in Japan during the first nine months of 2016 according to JADA were:

BrandQ1-3/2016Q1-3/2015% Change
15Mitsubishi Fuso34,24633,3802.6
17BMW MINI17,79015,11917.7
19UD Trucks7,7768,443-7.9

Top 25 Best-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2016 (Q1-3)

There were only minor changes in the rank order of the 25 best-selling car marques in Japan during the first nine months of 2016. Amongst the top ten best-selling brands, only Daihatsu and Nissan swapped positions.

Toyota easily remained the largest carmaker in Japan selling more vehicles than Honda and Suzuki combined. Toyota was also the only major producer to have increased sales compared to a year ago.

For most of the top brands, losses were less severe than a year ago but Mazda and Mitsubishi had sales of around a fifth less than a year ago.

Mercedes-Benz remained at tenth place as the top-selling foreign branded car in Japan. It was the first time that Mercedes-Benz sales topped 50,000 cars in Japan during the first three quarters of a year.

Lexus and BMW both moved up one position with double-digit increases in sales in Japan while Volkswagen slipped two places with sales down another 17% after contracting 12% the year before. During the first three quarters of 2014, VW was still the top foreign brand in Japan with over 50,000 cars sold.

The only other rank position changes were Peugeot and Porsche swapping positions and Smart entering at the expense of Ford.

Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2016 (Q2+Q3)

The ten best-selling car models in Japan during the six-month period April to September 2016 according to JADA were as follows:

BrandModelQ2+Q3/2016% Change

Excluding Kei (mini) cars

As usual in Japan the rank order of the favorite car models change frequently as new models are released and older ones fall out of favor. A few favorites always stay on the top ten list but others enter and fall out within months. Seven of the best-selling car models were produced by Toyota.

The new Toyota Prius was the most popular car in Japan during the second and third quarters of 2016. Sales were up by 150% lifting the world’s best-selling hybrid car from third place a year ago to first.

The smaller Toyota Aqua slipped to second position with sales down 15% while the Toyota Sienta shot up from 13th to third with sales more than doubled.

The Honda Fit remained in fourth place with slightly lower sales while the Toyota Voxy moved up one position with fairly flat sales.

The Passo is the third Toyota in the top-ten list to have more than doubled sales from a year ago. The Passo is up to sixth from 20th a year ago.

The evergreen Toyota Corolla slipped form second last year to 7th in 2016 with sales down by more than a quarter. Nissan Note sales were also weaker and slipped from 5th to 8th.

The Honda Vezel improved from 11th to ninth with sales up by 17%.

The tenth most-popular car model in Japan was a regular on the list – the Toyota Vitz that remained the seventh Toyota model amongst the top ten but down from 7th a year ago with flat sales.

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.