During the first quarter of 2017, Toyota remained the largest carmaker in an expanding Japanese vehicle market but the Nissan Note was the top-selling model.
New vehicle registrations in Japan increased by 7.3% to 1,577,750 vehicles during the first quarter of 2017. In March 2017, the Japanese new car market expanded for the fifth consecutive month. Toyota easily remained the largest vehicle manufacturer in Japan with sales growth double the broader market. For a change, Toyota did not produce the top-selling car model: the Nissan Note was Japan’s favorite car model thus far in 2017.
The Japanese New Vehicle Market in 2017 (Q1)
The Japanese new vehicle market including cars, buses and heavy commercial vehicles, expanded by 7.3% to 1,577,750 during the first thee months of 2017. This is just over 100,000 more vehicles than were sold during the same period in 2016 but still around a thousand less than during the first quarter of 2015.
In March 2017, new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increased for the fifth consecutive month. Car sales in Japan has been as follows thus far in 2017 according to JADA statistics:
|Q1/2017||Q1/2016||% Change 16/17|
Best-Selling Vehicle Manufacturers in Japan in 2017 (Q1)
The top-selling vehicle brands in Japan during the first three months of 2017 were as follows according to JADA:
Top 25 Vehicle Brands in Japan in 2017 (Q1)
Most of the top 25 best-selling vehicle brands in Japan increased sales during the first quarter of 2017 with the larger Japanese brands mostly outperforming the broader market, even though Lexus was the worst-performing brand overall.
Toyota remained Japan’s largest carmaker and increased market share with sales growth twice the market average. Toyota sold nearly 60,000 more vehicles during the first quarter of 2017 compared to last year.
In contrast, Honda remained Japan’s second largest carmaker but with flat sales only narrowly outsold Nissan. Nissan sales increased by 12% to leave it in third place only 6,000 cars behind Honda.
Suzuki narrowly outsold the broader market to take fourth place from Daihatsu that saw sales shrunk by 2.3%.
Mazda sales were positive but flat in the fast growing Japanese market. Subaru and Isuzu outsold the broader market but Mitsubishi sales were sharply down.
Hino re-entered the top ten with strong sales at the expense of Mercedes Benz that had flat sales. Mercedes Benz remained the top imported car brand in Japan during the first quarter of 2017.
Volkswagen moved ahead of Lexus with flat sales while Lexus was the worst performer of the top 25 best-selling car marques in Japan thus in 2017.
The rest of the top 20 car brands in Japan was unchanged from a year ago.
The most-improved brands were Renault and Porsche but in comparison to Toyota the totals remained rather insignificant.
Ten Best-Selling Cars in Japan in 2017 Q1)
The ten top-sellers in Japan during the first three months of 2017 were as follows according to JADA statistics:
Note: List exclude mini (Kei) cars
Japan’s Favorite Car Models in 2017 (Q1)
In a change of recent form, it was a Nissan rather than a Toyota that topped the list of the best-selling car models in Japan. Thus far in 2017, the Nissan Note has been the best-selling car model in Japan. The Note was Japan’s top-selling car for the first time in November 2016 – the first time in just over three decades that a Nissan model was Japan’s favorite car during a calendar month. The Note again led the list in January and March 2017 to sell 53,355 cars during the first quarter of 2017. In 2016, the Note was fourth with around 32,000 sales.
The Toyota Prius slipped to second place with sales down by around 22,000 compared to the first quarter of 2016.
The Toyota C-HR – a new crossover vehicle – was very well received in Japan and the third best-selling car during the first quarter of 2017. The Toyota Aqua slipped from second to fourth with sales down from 50,000 cars a year ago.
The Nissan Serena re-entered the top-ten list after slipping to 11th a year ago. The Honda Freed similarly is a new entry.
The Toyota Sienta slipped from 5th to 7th although the number of cars sold actually increased. The Toyota Vitz re-entered the list from 12th a year ago.
The Honda Fit slipped from third a year ago. In March 2016 alone, more Fits were sold in Japan than during the first three months of 2017.
The Toyota Voxy slipped from 6th a year ago.
Car models slipping out of the top-ten list of bestsellers in Japan during the first quarter of 2017 were the Honda Vezel, Nissan X-Trail and Mazda Demio.
Top-Selling Exotic and Sports in Japan in 2017 (Q1)
The good times are returning for exotic sports car in Japan according to the new vehicle registration data released by JADA. A few examples: