2019 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Minicar (Kei) Brands and Models

In 2019, Daihatsu and Suzuki were the best-selling minicar (kei) brands in Japan with the Honda N-Box again the top-selling car.

Honda N-Box - the best-selling minicar in Japan in 2019

In full calendar year 2019, new minicar (kei) registrations were slightly lower at 1,910,346 (-0.7%) than a year ago. Daihatsu and Suzuki continued to dominate the Japanese minicar market with each brand selling nearly a third of all minicars in Japan. In 2019, the Honda N-Box was Japan’s best-selling car model for the fourth consecutive year.

Latest Japan Car Sales Statistics: 2023 — Brands, Models, Minicars; Data for 2022 – 2009.

Best-Selling Minicar Brands in Japan in 2019 (Full Year)

The top-selling minicar (kei) brands in Japan in 2019 were as follows according to Zenkeijkyo:

BrandSales 2019Sales 2018% Change% Share
Total Sales1,910,3461,924,124-0.7100
Source: Zenkeijkyo

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.

Top-Selling Minicar Brands in Japan in 2019 (Full Year)

Minicar sales in Japan in 2019 were relatively stable and only 0.7%, or 14,000 cars, less than in 2018. There were similarly not much movement in the fortunes of the largest minicar makers in Japan in 2019.

Daihatsu remained the largest minicar producer in Japan and slightly increased output and market share. Second-placed Suzuki slipped somewhat back but both of the two largest minicar makers in Japan each still controlled over 30% of the total kei market.

Honda sales were also slightly lower but in 2019 the Honda N-Box was for the fourth consecutive year the top-selling minicar in Japan. Honda has nearly a fifth of the minicar market in Japan.

Nissan was the most-improved minicar brand in Japan in 2019 by increasing sales by 5.5% to take just over 10% of the kei market.

Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, and Subaru all had weaker minicar sales in Japan in 2019 but these brands are only minor players in the kei market. Although Toyota brand sold less than 2% of minicars in Japan, it is worth noting that Daihatsu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Company, Japan’s largest vehicle producer.

Best-Selling Minicar Models in Japan in 2019 (Full Year)

The 15 top-selling minicar models in Japan in 2019 were as follows:

MakerCommon name通称名Sales 2019Sales in 2018% 18/19
7SuzukiWagon RワゴンR90,046107,283-16.6
Source: Zenkeijkyo

In 2019, the Honda N-Box was for the fourth consecutive year the best-selling minicar in Japan. Honda sold twice as many N-Box minicars than Toyota sold of the Prius that was the top-selling regular car model in Japan in 2019. See 2019 Best-Selling Car Models in Japan for a combined list – half of the top ten most popular cars in Japan in 2019 were minicars including the top four.

There were no changes in the models on the list of the top 15 best-selling minicars in Japan in 2019 compared to a year ago but there were changes in rank order. A new version of the Daihatsu Tanto was launched during the second half of 2019 and sales for the full year were up 28% and the Tanto moved up from fourth to second.

The Suzuki Spaica and Nissan Days each slipped one rank position despite increasing sales by around a tenth. All the other top-15 minicars had weaker sales in Japan in 2019 with the noticeable exception of the Suzuki Jimny that increased sales by 45%.

See also: 2019 Japan: Best-Selling Car Models and 2019 Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands.

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.