2021 (Full Year) Japan: Best-Selling Minicar (Kei) Brands and Models

2021 (full-year sales): Daihatsu was the top mini-vehicle maker in Japan, Suzuki the best-selling minicar brand, and the Honda N-Box the top-selling Kei model.

2021 (full-year sales): Daihatsu was the top mini-vehicle maker in Japan, Suzuki the best-selling minicar brand, and the Honda N-Box the top-selling Kei model.
Honda N-Box © Honda Japan

In full calendar year 2021, Daihatsu remained the largest producer of mini-vehicles in Japan but Suzuki remained the best-selling mini passenger car brand. The Honda N-Box was again the top-selling Kei car model. Mini vehicle sales in Japan in 2021 were down around 4% with smaller commercial mini vehicles slightly outperforming mini passenger car sales. The total Japanese vehicle market in 2021 contracted by 3.3% to 4,448,340 vehicles.

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

Mini Vehicle Sales in Japan in 2021 (Full Year)

Mini vehicle registrations in Japan in full calendar year 2021 contracted by 3.8% to 1,652,522 mini vehicles compared to 1,718,088 mini vehicles sold in 2020. The market for mini passenger cars was down 4.2% to 1,275,836 kei cars (1,331,149 kei cars sold in 2020).

Supply-chain bottlenecks, especially the lack of computer chips, were a major issue for all carmakers forcing a slowdown in production and long delivery times that would continue to hamper the market well into 2022.

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.

Best-Selling Mini Vehicle Brands in Japan in 2021 (Full Year)

The top-selling mini-vehicle producers by brand in Japan in 2021 (January to December) according to Zenkeijkyo were:

BrandBrand20212020% 20/21% ShareRecord SalesYear/Month
Total合 計1,652,5221,718,088-3.8100.0302,3452014/03
1Daihatsuダイハツ532,702536,292-0.732.290,9732014/03
2Suzukiス ズ キ 509,169523,604-2.830.884,6332005/03
3Hondaホ ン ダ305,397325,332-6.118.560,8222014/03
4Nissan日 産177,380202,255-12.310.735,7222014/03
5Mitsubishi三 菱43,14442,7361.02.649,9691997/03
6Toyotaト ヨ タ35,42031,37312.92.16,0672012/07
7Mazdaマ ツ ダ31,06035,641-12.91.915,1831963/10
8Subaruス バ ル18,19820,767-12.41.137,3951987/03
9Othersそ の 他5288-40.9
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.

There were no changes in the rank order of the largest mini-vehicle producers in Japan in 2021 compared to a year ago. Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota, remained the largest producer of mini vehicles. Although only the second-largest minicar maker, Daihatsu is dominant in the mini commercial vehicle sector.

The record sales column indicates the highest monthly sales ever for each mini-vehicle brand. March 2014 was a high point for mini vehicles with Daihatsu, Honda, and Nissan registering their best numbers ever — some of the financial advantages of Kei cars were reduced from April 2014. For Mazda, the highest sales month for mini cars ever was October 1963!

Best-Selling Minicar Brands in Japan in 2021 (Full Year)

The top-selling mini passenger car producers by brand in Japan in 2021 (January to December) according to Zenkeijkyo were:

BrandBrand20212020% 20/21Share
Total合 計1,275,8361,331,14995.8100.0
1Suzukiス ズ キ 397,731403,480-1.431.2
2Daihatsuダイハツ380,578394,893-3.629.8
3Hondaホ ン ダ264,803274,439-3.520.8
4Nissan日 産142,667163,918-13.011.2
5Mitsubishi三 菱34,56433,7462.42.7
6Mazdaマ ツ ダ24,52228,581-14.21.9
7Toyotaト ヨ タ20,81919,6875.71.6
8Subaruス バ ル10,10412,320-18.00.8
9Othersそ の 他4885-43.50.0
Source: Zenkeijkyo

Best-Selling Minicar Models in Japan in 2021 (Full Year)

The top-selling mini passenger car models in Japan in full-year 2021 were:

MakerModel Name通称名Sales 2021Sales 2020% 21/20
1HondaN-BOXN-BOX189,940195,984-3.6
2SuzukiSpaciaスペーシア128,881139,851-7.8
3DaihatsuTantoタント116,912129,680-9.8
4DaihatsuMoveムーヴ95,840104,133-8.0
5NissanRooxルークス84,74872,82016.4
6SuzukiHustlerハスラー82,48680,1143.0
7SuzukiWagon RワゴンR68,97066,0614.4
8DaihatsuMirrorミラ65,80373,462-10.4
9DaihatsuTaftタフト62,27842,94245.0
10SuzukiAltoアルト60,91963,371-3.9
Source: Zenkeijkyo

In 2021, the Honda N-Box remained Japan’s favorite mini car model for the sixth consecutive year. The top four models were the same as in 2020 but all had weaker sales. The Nissan Roox (up from 8th) and Daihatsu Taft (up from 12th) gained the most but both were only introduced to the market during 2020.

For the first time in years, Japan’s top-selling regular car — the Toyota Yaris in 2021 — sold in higher volume numbers than the best-selling Kei car .

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