02 February 2010

Car Sales 2009: Japan

The Japanese car market can be divided into three sections. First, there is the 'Big Five', then the 'Middle Three' (all Japanese) and finally the rest, mainly foreign brands that feed on the crumbs. The fact that the top eight are all indigenous brands shows that it is unpatriotic for Japanese to buy imported cars, especially mainstream brands.

This way of thinking is shown by the government when they stimulated sales through a scrappage scheme in 2009 which was carefully designed to maximise the benefit to local brands and minimise any help for foreign marques. That is the Japanese way. Outwardly talk of fairness, yet inwardly doing all you can to promote self centred aims. It works. The US got upset at how the scrappage scheme was totally useless in assisting American brands. After all such schemes are primarily economic, not ecological. However, others have gone down the same road of self promotion, for example France and China come to mind. Still, it just proves the world is still blighted by self interest.

Anyway, the overall market was down 7.2% to 3,925,000 sales of passenger cars. As for sales chart by make for 2009:

1 Toyota 1,240,000 31.6% (-4%)
2 Honda 600,000 15.5% (+1%)
3 Nissan 520,000 13.3% (-10%)
4 Suzuki 490,000 12.4% (-9%)
5 Daihatsu 470,000 12.1% (-7%)

6 Mazda 175,000 4.5% (-15%)
7 Subaru 120,000 3.1% (-17%)
8 Mitsubishi 120,000 3% (-17%)

9 Volkswagen 38,000 1% (-17%)
10 BMW 29,000 0.7% (-19%)

Brands from 5th to 10th all achieved their worst market share for the last decade. The 'Big Five' seem to be getting bigger collectively, increasing their market share from 82.9% to 84.5% in the last 12 months. Imports on the other hand, keep getting less crumbs from the table.

The bottom line: The Japanese car market is all about local brands.

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