2015 Japanese market (Part 2): Suzuki and Honda expand market shares

Mini vehicles and hybrids account for over 60% of passenger car sales

2015/02/13

Summary

Passenger car sales volume in Japan In 2014, 4.7 million passenger cars were sold in Japan with a year-on-year (y/y) increase of 3.0%. The automotive industry analysts had originally predicted a large decline, but the result exceeded the previous year's sales, thanks to larger-than-expected last-minute demand before the tax hike and brisk mini-vehicle sales. By brand, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and Suzuki Motor Corporation greatly increased sales, which expanded respective market shares to 17.4% and 13.5%. Honda's compact sports utility vehicle (SUV), Vezel, and Suzuki's mini SUV, Hustler, contributed to the growth.

 By model, Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd.'s Tanto became the top seller with 234,000 units. The Tanto became the first mini-car to top the list in six years.

 In regard to passenger car sales volume by engine displacement and fuel type, mini vehicles under 660cc accounted for 39.1% of the total sales, followed by 22.0% of the hybrid vehicles (HVs) including plug-in hybrids (PHVs). Mini vehicles and HVs combined thus accounted for over 60% of the total sales.

 The number of registered vehicles in Japan has been catching up thanks to growing minicar ownership. At the end of September 2014, it was 75.37 million units including 20.76 million minicars.

Related Report:
2015 Japanese market (Part 1): outlook and vehicle tax revision (Feb. 2015)



Passenger car market expands by 3% y/y to 4.7 million units

Passenger car market share in Japan In 2014, passenger car sales increased by 3.0% y/y to 4.7 million units. As of January 2014, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) estimated it at 4.08 million units. The result exceeded the estimate to a large extent because the last-minute demand prior to the tax hike was larger than expected and the mini vehicle sales were favorable.

 By brand, Honda and Suzuki boosted sales and their market shares increased respectively by 1.4% to 17.4% y/y and by 1.3% to 13.5% y/y. Toyota, on the other hand, decreased sales volume by 2.8% y/y and its market share to 28.6%, 5% point less than 33.6% of 2010.

 Sales of non-mini vehicles in Japan declined slightly by 0.4% y/y to 2.86 million units. Honda greatly increased non-mini vehicle sales by 25.3% y/y to 446,000 units thanks to the Vezel compact SUV. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., on the other hand, dropped non-mini vehicle sales greatly by 14.9% y/y to 358,000 units. This was attributable to the declined sales of the recently upgraded Note and Serena, both of which are models for high-volume sales. Toyota Motor Corporation redesigned the Voxy, Noah and Vellfire and increased sales of these models, which was not enough to cover sales declines of its two hybrid models, the Aqua and the Prius.

 Mini vehicle sales were brisk and the industry-wide sales increased by 8.8% y/y to 1.84 million units. Thanks to strong sales of the Hustler, Suzuki came out on top of mini passenger car sales, by selling 556,000 units, up 15.9% y/y, Daihatsu stepped down to the second position with 546,000 units, up 5.6% y/y, in spite of the sales growth of the 2014 best seller, Tanto. Honda greatly increased sales for two years in a row after the introduction of the N-series. In 2014, however, its sales slowed down to 370,000 units, down 0.9% y/y.

Passenger car sales volumes and shares by brand in the Japanese market

Passenger car total
Sales volume (in thousands of units) Market share (%)
Group 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Toyota 1,415 1,038 1,494 1,382 1,344 33.6 29.5 32.7 30.3 28.6
Honda 600 477 713 729 816 14.3 13.5 15.6 16.0 17.4
Suzuki 484 437 530 559 634 11.5 12.4 11.6 12.2 13.5
Nissan 566 515 561 575 569 13.4 14.6 12.3 12.6 12.1
Daihatsu 477 430 551 519 548 11.3 12.2 12.1 11.4 11.7
Mazda 196 165 192 202 199 4.6 4.7 4.2 4.4 4.2
Subaru 123 108 141 164 154 2.9 3.1 3.1 3.6 3.3
Mitsubishi 132 109 107 107 103 3.1 3.1 2.3 2.3 2.2
VW 47 51 56 67 67 1.1 1.4 1.2 1.5 1.4
Mercedes-Benz 31 33 42 54 61 0.7 0.9 0.9 1.2 1.3
BMW 33 34 41 46 46 0.8 1.0 0.9 1.0 1.0
Lexus 33 42 44 47 44 0.8 1.2 1.0 1.0 0.9
Audi 17 21 24 29 31 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.7
MINI 11 14 16 17 18 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Others 47 51 60 66 66 1.1 1.4 1.3 1.4 1.4
Total 4,212 3,525 4,572 4,562 4,700 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Non-mini vehicles 2,928 2,386 3,015 2,872 2,860 69.5 67.7 65.9 63.0 60.9
Mini vehicles 1,285 1,139 1,558 1,690 1,839 30.5 32.3 34.1 37.0 39.1
Non-mini vehicles
Sales volume (in thousands of units) Market share (%)
Group 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Toyota 1,415 1,032 1,462 1,352 1,320 48.3 43.3 48.5 47.1 46.1
Honda 486 378 424 356 446 16.6 15.9 14.1 12.4 15.6
Nissan 442 392 437 421 358 15.1 16.4 14.5 14.7 12.5
Mazda 157 130 151 156 153 5.4 5.5 5.0 5.4 5.3
Subaru 79 74 108 126 127 2.7 3.1 3.6 4.4 4.4
Suzuki 58 77 88 79 78 2.0 3.2 2.9 2.8 2.7
VW 47 51 56 67 67 1.6 2.1 1.9 2.3 2.4
Mercedes-Benz 31 33 42 54 61 1.1 1.4 1.4 1.9 2.1
BMW 33 34 41 46 46 1.1 1.4 1.4 1.6 1.6
Lexus 33 42 44 47 44 1.1 1.8 1.4 1.6 1.5
Mitsubishi 65 53 59 54 43 2.2 2.2 1.9 1.9 1.5
Audi 17 21 24 29 31 0.6 0.9 0.8 1.0 1.1
MINI 11 14 16 17 18 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.6
Others 53 54 63 68 67 1.8 2.2 2.1 2.4 2.4
Total 2,928 2,386 3,015 2,872 2,860 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Mni vehicles
Sales volume (in thousands of units) Market share (%)
Group 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Suzuki 426 360 442 479 556 33.1 31.6 28.4 28.4 30.2
Daihatsu 471 427 548 517 546 36.7 37.5 35.2 30.6 29.7
Honda 115 98 289 373 370 8.9 8.6 18.5 22.1 20.1
Nissan 124 122 124 154 211 9.6 10.7 7.9 9.1 11.5
Mitsubishi 67 57 48 53 60 5.2 5.0 3.1 3.1 3.2
Mazda 39 35 42 46 46 3.0 3.1 2.7 2.7 2.5
Subaru 44 34 33 38 27 3.4 3.0 2.1 2.3 1.5
Toyota 0 6 32 30 24 0.0 0.5 2.1 1.8 1.3
Others 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 1,285 1,139 1,558 1,690 1,839 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Marklines Statistics Database

 

 



Sales by model: Daihatsu Tanto ranks first for first time in six years as mini vehicle

 Of all the passenger car models in Japan, 234,000 unit sales of the Daihatsu Tanto were the largest. The Tanto became the first mini-vehicle top seller in six years after 2008, when the Suzuki WagonR topped the list. The Aqua, Fit and Prius ranked as the second, third and fourth. They are either hybrid models or models providing a hybrid version. Those ranked high in the fifth through 10th were mostly mini vehicles. The results showed expanding presence of mini vehicles in the Japanese passenger car market.

 

Daihatsu Tanto Suzuki Hustler
Daihatsu Tanto at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show Suzuki Hustler that boosted the OEM's sales (at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show)

 

Top 20 best selling models in Japan

(units)
2012 2013 2014
Model Maker/
Brand
Sales
volume
Model Maker/
Brand
Sales
volume
Model Maker/
Brand
Sales
volume
1 Prius Toyota 317,675 Aqua (Prius C) Toyota 262,367 Tanto* Daihatsu 234,456
2 Aqua (Prius C) Toyota 266,567 Prius Toyota 253,711 Aqua (Prius C) Toyota 233,209
3 Mira* Daihatsu 218,295 N BOX* Honda 234,994 Fit (Jazz) Honda 202,838
4 N BOX* Honda 211,155 Move* Daihatsu 205,333 Prius Toyota 183,614
5 Fit (Jazz) Honda 209,275 Wagon R* Suzuki 186,090 N BOX* Honda 179,930
6 Wagon R* Suzuki 195,701 Fit (Jazz) Honda 181,414 Wagon R* Suzuki 175,369
7 Tanto* Daihatsu 170,609 Mira* Daihatsu 157,276 DAYZ* Nissan 169,244
8 Move* Daihatsu 146,016 Note Nissan 147,634 N-WGN* Honda 146,717
9 Alto* Suzuki 112,002 Tanto* Daihatsu 144,629 Mira* Daihatsu 142,506
10 Freed Honda 106,316 Alto* Suzuki 111,361 Move* Daihatsu 138,048
11 Vitz (Yaris) Toyota 105,611 N ONE* Honda 107,583 Spacia* Suzuki 121,086
12 Serena Nissan 96,020 Spacia* Suzuki 107,193 Corolla Toyota 114,331
13 Note Nissan 85,330 Corolla Toyota 101,664 Alto* Suzuki 110,568
14 Corolla Toyota 80,459 Serena Nissan 96,407 Voxy Toyota 109,174
15 Moco* Nissan 66,460 Vitz (Yaris) Toyota 85,903 Note Nissan 106,765
16 Step Wgn Honda 63,707 Crown Toyota 82,701 HUSTLER* Suzuki 104,233
17 Palette* Suzuki 60,136 DAYZ* Nissan 78,855 Vezel Honda 96,029
18 Vellfire Toyota 58,513 Freed Honda 68,371 Vitz (Yaris) Toyota 89,496
19 Demio (Mazda 2) Mazda 57,820 Step Wgn Honda 62,206 Serena Nissan 76,909
20 Passo Toyota 52,281 Impreza/XV Subaru 58,243 Noah Toyota 69,605

Sources: Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA), Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association
Note:Models with asterisk (*) are mini vehicles.

 

 



Sales by engine displacement and fuel type

Passenger car sales by engine displacement and fuel type (2014) As for the 2014 passenger car sales volume by engine displacement and fuel type, mini vehicles under 660cc accounted for the largest 39.1%, followed by 22.0% of the HVs including PHVs. Mini vehicles and HVs combined thus accounted for more than 60% of the Japanese passenger car market. Passenger cars under 1,500 cc (non-mini vehicles) accounted for 18.2% and those over 1,500 cc to 2,000 cc accounted for 12.9%.

 


Sales of new passenger cars by engine displacement

(units)
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Over 4000cc 52,564 52,902 39,265 23,588 25,726 22,152 24,036 27,533 17,759
Over 3500cc
-4000cc
13,677 21,862 26,123 19,735 17,305 20,721 20,671 18,304 16,383
Over 3000cc
-3500cc
107,406 76,921 90,485 53,709 50,646 37,741 49,077 41,468 19,586
Over 2500cc
-3000cc
94,210 79,552 65,627 36,505 42,537 40,021 39,305 32,930 38,167
Over 2000cc
-2500cc
543,871 512,025 440,293 358,525 419,603 277,170 324,486 335,792 163,539
Over 1500cc
-2000cc
891,420 883,061 749,366 811,893 999,840 818,272 1,023,571 961,326 607,990
Over 1000cc
-1500cc
1,360,605 1,238,334 1,266,788 1,185,652 1,215,328 1,103,311 1,418,885 1,305,586 763,637
Under 1000cc 67,838 84,372 119,608 146,142 146,872 57,576 74,053 73,031 92,738
Mini vehicles
(660cc)
1,507,598 1,447,106 1,426,979 1,283,429 1,284,665 1,138,753 1,557,682 1,690,171 1,839,119
HVs n.a. 1,016,766
PHVs n.a. 16,209
Diesel-fueled
car total
2,543 4,164 3,109 4,562 9,745 9,072 40,567 76,141 79,565
EVs n.a. 15,181
FCVs n.a. 7
Others n.a. 12,945
Passenger car
total
4,641,732 4,400,299 4,227,643 3,923,740 4,212,267 3,524,789 4,572,333 4,562,282 4,699,591

Source: Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA)'s vehicle registration data
Note: Statistics of HVs, PHVs and others with some n.a. columns were released in 2014 for the first time. Up to 2013, those were included in the displacement-based data. Displacement-based data in 2014, therefore, are smaller by the volume of HV and such other models.

 

 



Number of registered vehicles in Japan: minicars exceed 20 million units

Registered number of vehicles in Japan The number of registered vehicles in Japan has been catching up since 2010. At the end of September 2014, it was 75.37 million units, an increase of 410,000 units from the end of 2013. Increased minicar registration contributed to the growth. At the end of September 2014, 20.76 million minicars were owned in Japan, exceeding the 20 million-unit mark. The number of minicars in Japan increased by five million units in eight years.


Number of vehicles registered in Japan

(in thousands of units)
End of
2006
End of
2007
End of
2008
End of
2009
End of
2010
End of
2011
End of
2012
End of
2013
End of
Sep.
2014
Auto fleet Non-minicars 42,413 41,693 41,104 40,608 40,360 40,184 40,163 39,945 39,772
minicars 15,108 15,931 16,760 17,412 17,987 18,487 19,258 20,090 20,757
Commercial vehicles 7,129 7,010 6,719 6,501 6,335 6,233 6,166 6,112 6,105
Mini commercial vehicles 9,602 9,495 9,408 9,289 9,177 8,964 8,896 8,818 8,738
Total 74,252 74,129 73,992 73,809 73,859 73,867 74,482 74,965 75,372
Changes Non-minicars (720) (588) (497) (247) (177) (21) (218) (173)
minicars 823 829 652 575 500 772 832 666
Commercial vehicles (119) (290) (219) (166) (102) (67) (54) (6)
Mini commercial vehicles (107) (88) (119) (111) (214) (68) (77) (80)
Total (123) (137) (183) 50 7 616 483 407
Source: Monthly statistics report by Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA)
Notes: 1)  Commercial vehicles include trucks and buses. The data do not include special purpose vehicles and three-wheelers.
2)  Figures in brackets (  ) indicate a negative value.

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