|Lexus grew 9% in a falling market|
Total registrations in Japan were down 10.3%, or nearly 500,000 units less. Despite that it is only the lowest since 2011. Tax on small kei cars was increased early in the year, causing this very popular segment to lose customers and a loss of total sales. The list is coded the following way: green = increase, blue decrease but less than the total sales and yellow loss of sales and share. We'll look at the locals brands, then the imports.
Local: If you look at the the rankings 1-8 below, you will notice they are all local brands. The only one not there is Lexus, back at 11th. I have records going back to 1970 and Toyota has been the top ranked all that time. It was down 5.4% in 2016, but still managed to increase its market share. Only Mazda and Lexus grew faster than total sales with most lost market share.
|CEO of Mercedez-Benz Japan a happy man no doubt|
Imports: Total import sales dropped 1.4% from 288,000 to 284,00 which was better than sales as a whole. The reason was mainly because imports do not sell in the kei car category and that is where much of the loss was sustained.
VW was hurt by the scandal. In Japan face is important and VW lost face here. In a few short months its sales tumbled and for the first time since at least 1968 (my records) it lost the prized place as largest import brand. Mercedes Benz now has that, and had a nice nice increase as well.
One interesting fact is that the Japanese will not buy Korean cars. Morgan equalled Hyundai and Maybach outsold Kia. How often does that happen? Another quirk is that MG Rover has not stopped selling cars since its demise over ten years ago. They must have had plenty of stock. The importer, it seems, has patiently sold them.
Data source: JAMA & JAIA.
|Mazda bucked the trend for a Japanese brand with an increase|