2019 (Half Year) Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands, Models and Mini Cars

During the first half of 2019 Toyota and Honda were the best-selling car brands in Japan. The Toyota Prius was the top-selling car model and the Honda N-Box the favorite mini car.

Toyota Corolla

January to June 2019: Toyota, Honda and Suzuki were again Japan’s best-selling car brands. The Toyota Prius regained the title of Japan’s favorite car model from the Nissan Note. However, the Honda N-Box, Japan’s leading mini car (kei), sold in far higher numbers.

Japanese New Car Market in 2019 (Half Year)

New vehicle registrations in Japan increased during the first half of 2019 by 0.8% to 2,753,419 vehicles including cars, trucks and buses.

Best-Selling Vehicle Brands in Japan in 2019 (First Semester)

New vehicle registration data released by JADA had the following as the leading motor vehicle manufacturers in Japan for the first half year 2019:

Brand2019 HY2018 HY% Change 18/19
Total2,753,4192,732,4780.8
1Toyota799,552765,7834.4
2Honda403,364385,7424.6
3Suzuki378,040374,0781.1
4Daihatsu345,176335,1143.0
5Nissan312,742335,997-6.9
6Mazda103,810119,901-13.4
7Subaru69,33076,600-9.5
8Mitsubishi58,25356,4273.2
9Isuzu41,54336,17314.8
10Hino35,34635,3010.1
11Mercedes-Benz31,74832,503-2.3
12Lexus31,54032,912-4.2
13VW24,08826,078-7.6
14BMW23,46023,4580.0
15Mitsubishi Fuso20,51821,641-5.2
16Mini12,57912,772-1.5
17Audi11,31414,052-19.5
18Volvo9,4388,7258.2
19Jeep6,1495,6409.0
20Peugeot5,4105,2313.4
Source: JADA

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2019 (Half Year)

Toyota remained the top-selling car marque in Japan during the first semester of 2019 by increasing sales by 4.4% to just less than 800,000. Japan’s leading carmaker sold more cars than second-placed Honda and third-placed Suzuki combined.

Daihatsu moved ahead of Nissan with stronger sales while Nissan sales slipped by 7%. This was the only rank position change among the top-ten leading car brands in Japan thus far in 2019.

Mazda and Subaru were the worst-performing top ten car brands in Japan but both maintained their relative rank positions. Mitsubishi increased sales, as did commercial vehicle producers Isuzu and Hino.

Despite weaker sales, Mercedes-Benz regained the top position as leading luxury car brand in Japan from Lexus. Mercedes also remained the top-selling foreign car marque in Japan during the first half of 2019.

Volkswagen sales in Japan were weaker while BMW sold two cars more in Japan during the first half of 2019 compared to a year ago.

Audi was the worst performing top 20 brand in Japan in 2019 with sales down by a fifth. Mini and Audi swapping places were the only further rank changes among the top 20 brands.

Best-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2019 (First Half)

The top ten best-selling car models in Japan during the first half of 2019 were as follows:

BrandModel2019 (HY)2018 HY% Change 18/19
1ToyotaPrius70,27764,0199.8
2NissanNote68,54373,380-6.6
3ToyotaAqua60,34966, 144-8.8
4NissanSerena53,66256,095-4.3
5ToyotaSienta50,92645, 41712.1
6ToyotaCorolla47,83639,60720.8
7ToyotaVoxy47,83447, 7020.3
8FreedHonda45,54843, 9843.6
9ToyotaRumi45,54444, 9231.4
10ToyotaVitz45,27942, 5296.5
11HondaFit45,08947, 962-6.0
Source: JADA

Note: These numbers exclude mini cars (kei).

Japan’s Ten Favorite Car Models in 2019 (Half Year)

Although only one new car entered the top ten list of best-selling cars in Japan during the first half of 2019, only two cars maintained the same rank position as as year ago. Seven of the ten most-popular car models in Japan were produced by Toyota.

The Toyota Prius regained the top slot as Japan’s favorite car model moving up from third a year ago. Prius sales were up by a tenth while the Nissan Note and Toyota Aqua both slipped on rank position with weaker sales.

The Nissan Serena maintained fourth place despite weaker sales. The Toyota Sienta increased sales and moved up two rank positions.

The evergreen Toyota Corolla returned to the top ten (from 12th last year) with sales up by a fifth. The Toyota Voxy slipped one position with sales up but only two cars fewer than the Corolla.

The Freed was the top-selling Honda model and improved one rank position. The Toyota Rumi slipped one position while the Toyota Vitz maintained tenth.

The Honda Fit slipped out of the top ten to eleventh.

Best-Selling Mini Cars in Japan in 2019 (First Semester)

The top ten mini cars (kei) registered in Japan during the first half of 2019 were:

BrandModel2019 (HY)2018 (HY)% Change 18/19
1HondaN-Box131,233127,5482.9
2SuzukiSpacia89,75079,71812.6
3DaihatsuTant81,82871,80914.0
4NissanDays79,78971,77811.2
5DaihatsuMove68,83374,109-7.1
6DaihatsuMira55,43950,13810.6
7SuzukiWagon R51,37761,987-17.1
8SuzukiAlto38,13943,365-12.1
9SuzukiHustler29,71232,226.7.8
10MitsubishieK25,92524,0837.6
11HondaN-WGN22,68735,783-36.6
Source: Zenkeijkyo
Honda N-Box © Honda

Mini cars (kei) are hugely popular in Japan with the top four all selling in higher numbers than the Toyota Prius.

The Honda N-Box remained the best-selling mini car in Japan while the Suzuki Spacia was again second. The Daihatsu Tant and Nissan Days moved ahead of the Daihatsu Move.

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.