2017 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

In 2017, Toyota followed by Honda and Suzuki were again the top-selling car brands in Japan. New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increased by 5%.

Toyota Hybrid 8

Toyota easily maintained its traditional position as Japan鈥檚 largest carmaker by selling more than double the number of vehicles in 2017 than second-placed Honda. The Japanese new vehicle market grew by 5% in 2017 to just over 5.2 million cars, trucks and buses. Almost all top car brands in Japan managed to increase sales in 2017 with the exception of Lexus. Mercedes-Benz was again Japan鈥檚 favorite imported car brand.

The Japanese New Vehicle Market in 2017 (Full Year)

The Japanese total new vehicle market expanded in 2017 by 5.3% to 5,234,166 vehicles. This was the first expansion of the Japanese vehicle market in three years and the highest total since the record 5,562,888 vehicles sold in 2015. However, car sales in Japan were negative during the final quarter of 2017.

In 2017, new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increased by 5.1% to 2,943,010 cars. This figure does not include mini cars (Kei) that increased sales by 6.8% to 1,843,272. Commercial truck sales increased by a more modest 1% to 432,221 vehicles while bus sales were flat at 15,593 buses (+0.6%).

Total new vehicle registrations in Japan including mini cars, passenger cars, trucks and buses were as follows in recent years according to JADA figures:

YearVehicle Sales% Change
20175,234,1665.3
20164,970,260-1.5
20155,046,511-9.3
20145,562,8883.5
20135,375,5130.1
20125,369,72127.5
20114,210,220-15.1
20104,956,1367.5
20094,609,255-9.3
20085,082,235
Source: JADA

Best-Selling Vehicle Manufacturers in Japan in 2017 (Full Year)

The 25 largest vehicle manufacturers in Japan in 2017, including mini and passenger cars, trucks and buses according to JADA were:

BrandSales 2017Sales 2016% Change
Total5,234,1664,970,2585.3
1Toyota1,587,0621,528,1733.9
2Honda724,834707,0442.5
3Suzuki665,871622,8666.9
4Daihatsu630,856586,9727.5
5Nissan591,000534,41510.6
6Mazda209,689201,4044.1
7Subaru176,737155,77913.5
8Mitsubishi91,62185,7206.9
9Isuzu80,98481,128-0.2
10Mercedes-Benz68,22167,3861.2
11Hino67,77863,3107.1
12BMW52,52750,5713.9
13Volkswagen49,04047,2343.8
14Lexus45,60552,150-12.6
15Mitsubishi Fuso44,13445,210-2.4
16Audi28,33628,502-0.6
17Mini25,42724,5483.6
18Volvo16,12014,9148.1
19UD Trucks10,85810,5293.1
20Jeep10,1029,3927.6
21Peugeot8,2427,40311.3
22Renault7,1215,30434.3
23Porsche6,9236,8870.5
24Fiat6,5236,717-2.9
25Smart4,6384,5082.9
Source: JADA

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2017 (Full Year)

For the third consecutive year there was no change in the rank order of the ten largest carmakers in Japan. In 2017, with the exception of Isuzu, all top ten motor manufacturers increased sales.

In 2017, Toyota remained the largest carmaker in Japan by selling more than double the number of vehicles than second placed Honda managed. However, while both Toyota and Honda underperformed the broader market, Suzuki, Daihatsu and especially Nissan managed to increased market share in Japan.

Mazda sales in Japan in 2017 increased by just less than the market average. Subaru was the most improved of the top brands while Mitsubishi also performed better than the average. Isuzu sales were flat.

Mercedes-Benz was again the best-selling imported car brand in Japan in 2017. However, Mercedes-Benz sales were only moderately better than a year ago.

The only rank order change in the list of the top 20 largest carmakers in Japan in 2017 was Lexus slipping two positions. Lexus was the worst performing brand of the top 25 brands in Japan in 2017. As a consequence, BMW and Volkswagen both improved a position with sales just below market average.

French manufacturers Renault and Peugeot had a good year in Japan with Renault increasing sales by more than a third. However, the actual volume numbers remained dismally low.

Sports and Exotic Car Sales in Japan in 2017

A few of the exotic and sports car registrations in Japan in 2017 reported by JADA include:

BrandSales 2017Sales 2016% Change
Maserati1,8241,32337.9
Ferrari77567814.3
Lamborghini47538224.3
Bentley418434-3.7
Aston Martin32118672.6
Rolls Royce2252230.9
McLaren164179-8.4
Bugatti25-60
Source: JADA

The Toyota Prius was again the top-selling passenger car model in Japan in 2017 although the Honda N-Box mini car sold in higher 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.