2019 (Q3) Japan: Best-Selling Car Brands, Models and Minicars

January to September 2019: Toyota remained Japan’s top vehicle manufacturer, the Prius was the top-selling model and the Honda N-Box the best-selling minicar.

During the first three quarters of 2019, Toyota, Honda and Suzuki were again the best-selling car brands in Japan. The Toyota Prius regained the best-selling car model position from the Nissan Note. The Honda N-Box is still by far the favorite minicar (kei) of the Japanese,

Japanese New Vehicle Market in 2019 (Q3)

New vehicle registrations in Japan during the first nine months of 2019 increased by 3.1% to 4,149,685 motorized vehicles (including passenger cars, buses and heavy commercial vehicles).

This was the highest number for the first three quarters of a year in Japan since 2014. However, as sales taxes are due to be increased in October many vehicle purchases would have been brought forward and the final quarter of 2019 is likely to be more challenging.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2019 (Q3)

The top-selling vehicle brands in Japan during the period January to September 2019 according to JADA were:

BrandQ1-3/2019Q1-3/2018% Change 18/19
Total Market4,149,6854,023,6083.1
15Mitsubishi Fuso32,40331,8991.6
16BMW Mini19,00519,189-1.0
Source: JADA

Top-Selling Car Brands in Japan in 2019 (Q3)

Toyota remained by far the largest vehicle manufacturer and during the first three quarters of 2019 increased sales by 7% to regain all the loses experienced during the same period in 2018.

Toyota alone sold more cars in Japan than Honda and Suzuki combined during the first nine months of 2019. Honda also registered solid growth while Suzuki sales were slightly down.

Daihatsu gained fourth place with strong growth at the expense of Nissan that had weaker sales. This was the only rank position change among the top-ten biggest car brands in Japan during the period.

Nissan, Mazda and Subaru all had weaker sales while commercial vehicle producers Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Hino all increased sales.

Mercedes-Benz remained the top imported car brand in Japan with only very modest increases in sales. Lexus sales were up 13.5% to end just 123 behind Mercedes-Benz. Other German brands had weaker sales in Japan thus far in 2019. Audi was the worst-performing top-20 brand in Japan and slipped behind Mini.

Jeep was the most-improved top-20 brand in Japan but as with other foreign car brands in Japan, the actual volume numbers remained dismally low compared to the domestic producers.

Top-Selling Car Models in Japan in 2019 (Q2 & Q3)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by JADA showed the following as the top ten best-selling car models in Japan during the six month period of the second and third quarters of 2019:

ManufacturerModelQ2-Q3/2019Q2-Q3/2018% Change 18/19
Source: JADA

Note: Exclude minicars (kei)

During the six month period April to September 2019 the Toyota Prius regained the position as best-selling car model in Japan. Sales of the Prius were up by a fifth from a year ago to regain top spot from position three a year ago.

The Nissan Note slipped from first to second with sales down by 6%. the Toyota Sienta was the only new entry on the top ten list. Sienta sales increased by 43% to take third place from 11th a year ago.

The Toyota Aqua slipped from second to fourth with weaker sales while stronger sales boosted the Toyota Rumi from seventh to fifth. The evergreen Toyota Corolla maintained sixth place with higher sales.

Nissan Serena sales were only slightly weaker than a year ago but still slipped from fourth to seventh. The Toyota Voxy improved one rank position while the Toyota Vitz slipped from fifth to ninth.

The Honda Freed maintained tenth place with the Honda Fit slipping to 11th from eighth a year ago.

Toyota built seven of the ten most popular car models in Japan during the second and third quarters of 2019.

Best-Selling Minicars in Japan in 2019 (Q1-Q3)

During the period January to September 2019, the following were the best-selling minicars (Kei) in Japan:

BrandModelQ1-3/2019Q1-3/2018% Change 18/19
7SuzukiWagon R73,12986,542-15.5
Source: Zenkeijikyo

The Honda N-Box maintained its position as Japan’s favorite minicar with sales increasing by 9% during the first three quarters of 2019. The Daihatsu Tanto increased sales by 30% to leap frog both the Suzuki Spacia and Nissan Dayz.

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.