In 2018, the Nissan Note was the top-selling car model in Japan followed by the Toyota Aqua and Prius. The Honda N-Box mini car (kei) sold in higher numbers.
The Nissan Note was the most-popular car model in Japan in 2018, although Japanese car buyers purchased almost double as many Honda N-Box mini cars (kei). It was the first time in a decade that Japan’s favorite car model was not a Toyota. The hybrid-only Toyota Aqua and Prius were the second and third most-popular car models in Japan in 2018.
Top 30 Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2018 (Full Year)
The 30 most-popular car models in Japan in 2018 according to JADA were:
|Brand||Model||Sales in 2018||Sales in 2017||% 17/18|
Note: JADA car sales statistics exclude mini cars (kei)
Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2018 (Full Year)
None of the top ten best-selling car models in Japan in 2018 maintained the same rank position as a year ago:
In 2018, the Nissan Note was the top-selling car model in Japan for the first time ever. Although Note sales were slightly weaker than in 2017, the Nissan Note improved from second to first in 2018. This was the first time since 2008 that the favorite car of the Japanese was not a Toyota.
The Toyota Aqua improved from third to second with slightly weaker sales – the Aqua was the top-seller in 2015. The Toyota Prius, Japan’s favorite car in the previous three years, dropped from first to third with sales down by 28%.
The Nissan Serena was the most-improved top ten car model in Japan with sales up by 18% and improving from tenth to fourth. The Toyota Sienta improved from seventh to fifth and the Toyota Voxy from ninth to sixth.
The Honda Fit, Japan’s best-selling car model in 2008, slipped another rank position and with sales down 7.4% was the worst performer of the top ten cars in Japan in 2018.
The evergreen Toyota Corolla re-entered the top ten list from 12th with sales up by 16%. The Toyota Vitz slipped one rank position while the Toyota Roomy improved one to round out the top-ten list of Japan’s best-selling car models.
The two cars slipping out of the top ten list from a year ago were the Honda Freed (from fifth to 11th) and the Toyota C-HR (from fourth to 12th).
Only two cars in the top 30 list maintained the same rank positions as a year ago: the Toyota Noah (17) and Mazda Demio (21), which made it somewhat surprising that there were only two new models on the top 30 list: the Mazda CX-8 and Suzuki Swift.
Best-Selling Mini Car Models in Japan in 2018 (Full Year)
The 15 best-selling mini car models (kei) in Japan in 2018 were:
|Maker||Model||通称名||Sales in 2018||Sales in 2017||% 17/18|
Mini cars (kei-jidousya) in Japan are vehicles defined by amongst others being shorter than 3.4 m with a maximum height of 2 m and a maximum width of 1.48 m. The engine capacity is restricted to 0.66 l measured by the Japanese standard.
The Honda N-Box was the most-popular mini car in Japan in 2018 for the third consecutive year. Sales of the second generation N-Box, which was launched towards the end of 2017, increased by a further 11% with full year sales in 2018 of over 100,000 car more than the top-selling Nissan Note.
Sales of the Suzuki Spacia increased by 45% to improve from sixth to second while the Nissan Days improved from fourth to third. The Daihatsu Tant slipped from third to fourth and the Move from second to fifth.
The Suzuki Jimny was the only new entrant on the top 15 list of Japan’s favorite mini cars.
Top 10 Most-Popular Passenger Car and Mini Car Models in Japan in 2018
In Japan, sales of mini cars (kei) and regular passenger cars are traditionally listed separately. If combined, seven of the top ten most popular car models in Japan in 2018 were mini cars:
|–||Maker||Common name||Sales in 2018|
Toyota brand is a minor player in the mini car market – the company’s interests are well represented through especially Daihatsu – but Toyota continued to dominate the Japanese new vehicle market in 2018.