Japan Full Year 2016: Toyota Prius returns to #1 spot after 3 year-hiatus

Toyota Prius Japan 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe Toyota Prius is the best-selling nameplate in Japan in 2016. 

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei cars & Top 20 foreigners *

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After a harsh 9% decline in 2015, the Japanese new light vehicle market slows down its decline in 2016 at just -1.5% to 4.970.260 units, with kei cars still impacted by the tax hike from last year and imports up 4.6% to 343.673. Toyota remains master in command of course, even going agains the grain with a 5.5% increase to 1.53m units and a two percentage point gain in market share to 30.7%. Toyota distances seven brands all in decline in a Top 10 unchanged on last year. Honda (-2.7%), Suzuki (-2.1%), Daihatsu (-3.8%) and Subaru (-4%) keep their drop close to the market evolution.

Smart Forfour Japan 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe new Fortwo and Forfour sends Smart sales rocketing up 345.5% in Japan in 2016. 

Reversely, Nissan (-9.3%), Mitsubishi (-16%) handicapped by the fuel economy scandal that led to its purchase by Nissan and Mazda (-17.9%) post worrying declines. Closing out the Top 10 are Isuzu (+8.6%) and Mercedes (+3.4%), the only foreign manufacturer among Japan’s ten favourite brands. Fiat (+11.4%), Mini (+16.4%), Bentley (+17.3%), Peugeot (+25.3%), Jeep (+31.7%), Abarth (+52.2%), Jaguar (+113.7%), Smart (+345.5%) post some of the most spectacular gains among foreign carmakers.

Toyota Sienta Japan 2016. Picture courtesy yahoo.jpThe Toyota Sienta ranks on the 2016 podium in the regular cars ranking.

In the regular models ranking, as we predicted a year ago the Toyota Prius returns to the Japanese pole position thanks to the new generation of the model giving it a welcome 95% boost to just under 250.000 sales, its best annual score since 2013. This ends three consecutive years of domination by the Toyota Aqua, starting to feel its age at -22%. The Toyota Sienta confirms an explosive relaunch in 2015 with a third place overall this year, up 97% and knocking the Honda Fit (-12%) out of the podium. A new generation (with an e-power variant) launched at the end of the year enables the Nissan Note to gain 4% to remain in 5th place overall. It distances the Toyota Voxy (-1%) and Corolla (-22%).

Toyota Roomy Japan 2016. Picture courtesy response.jp Keep an eye for the Toyota Roomy in the 2017 annual Top 10…

The Honda Vezel hasn’t yet exhausted its sales potential and turns around a 26% drop in 2015 into a 4% gain this year to #8 overall. One late 2016 launch will challenge this in 2017: the Toyota C-HR, making its first appearance in its home Top 15 in December at #15 with 4.654 sales, just below… the Vezel (4.907). The Nissan Serena (+19%), Toyota Passo (+55%), Honda Freed (+27%), Suzuki Solio (+27%), Honda Odyssey (+95%) and Subaru Forester (+40%) are all boosted by new generations or facelifts, while the Honda Shuttle gains 21% to end its first full year of sales inside the Top 20. Two twin November launches make a big splash already: the Toyota Roomy ranks #8 in December with 6.100 sales while the Tank is #10 with 5.932.

Honda N-BOX Japan 2015. Picture response.jpThe Honda N-BOX remains #1 in the kei car sales charts. Picture response.jp 

In the kei car aisle, the Honda N-BOX is the most popular nameplate for the second straight year and the third time in the past 4 years thanks to stable deliveries at 186.367 (+1%) with all other kei cars in the Top 7 losing volume on 2015. The Daihatsu Tanto (-1%), Nissan Dayz (-30%), Daihatsu Move (-15%) and Suzuki Alto (-9%) round up a Top 5 unchanged on last year. The Suzuki Spacia (+2%), Daihatsu Cast (+105% for its first full year on sale), Toyota Pixis (+14%) and Suzuki Every Wagon (+11%) are the only keis in positive in the Top 20. Notice also the Honda S660 up 11% to #19 and the only all-new nameplate of the year, the Subaru Chiffon, landing at #20 in December and #34 for 2016.

Mini 5 doors Japan 2016The Mini dethrones the VW Golf to become the #1 foreigner in Japan. 

We witness a momentous shift in the foreign models ranking: for the first time since at least 13 years, the VW Golf is not leading this ranking: it has been overtaken by the Mini up a flamboyant 16% to 24.548 sales, by far the nameplate’s record annual volume in Japan. Note all variants of the Mini (Hatch, Countryman, Paceman and Clubman) are included in this figure. The Mini distances the VW Golf (-11%), Mercedes C-Class (-16%), BMW 3 Series (-1%) and VW Polo (-11%) with the BMW 2 Series (+21%) and Mercedes CLA (+6%) also bringing some positive vibes atop the ranking. Notice also the Mercedes E-Class up 30%, the VW Passat up 22%, the return of the BMW X1 (#13) and Audi A4 (#14) inside the Top 20 and the arrival of the Mercedes GLC (#18).

Previous post: Japan November 2016: Nissan Note e-powers through to pole position

Previous year (1): Japan Full Year 2015: Toyota Aqua leads, tax hike hurt kei cars

Previous year (2): Japan Full Year 2015: Now with exclusive Top 184 All-local models

Two years ago (1): Japan Full Year 2014: Kei cars surge, Daihatsu Tanto above Toyota Aqua

Two years ago (2): Japan Full Year 2014: Now with exclusive Top 189 All-local models

Full Year 2016 Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei cars & Top 20 foreigners vs. Full Year 2015 figures below. Full December 2016 rankings also below.

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Japan November 2016: Nissan Note e-powers through to pole position

nissan-note-e-power-japan-november-2016-picture-courtesy-autoc-one-jpNissan Note e-Power

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 58 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars – see title *

After two months in negative, the Japanese new vehicle market is back on track in November at +7% to 417.602 registrations. The year-to-date tally however still lags behind the same period in 2015 at -2% to 4.572.726 units. Market leader Toyota beats the market at +8% to 30.3% share, still over double the sales of its immediate follower, Honda up 9% to 13.9%. Daihatsu edges up 0.2% to 12.2%, passing Suzuki (+1.4%) for just 52 units. Nissan gains 14%, Subaru is up 17%, Mitsubishi up 22% and Isuzu up 23% but Lexus (-8%) is the only brand in negative in the Top 12. There are no foreign carmakers in the Top 10 for the first time since April, with Mercedes (+6%) sliding down to #11 followed by BMW (+25%), Volkswagen (-9%), Mini (+20%), Audi (+19%) and Volvo (+37%). Notice also Citroen up 59%, Jeep up 73%, Jaguar up 115% and Abarth up 122%.

nissan-note-e-power-japan-november-2016Nissan Note e-Power  

Thunder strikes in the models ranking: the Nissan Note leaps directly to pole position with a stunning 15.784 sales thanks to the launch of the new model, and specifically the e-power variant, an all-new hybrid powertrain with no plug-in. It consists of a  79 PS/103 Nm 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine only present to feed the 109 PS/254 Nm electric motor from the Leaf: the petrol mill is not connected to the driven wheels, so none of its power actually reaches the ground. Nissan says that the system allows drivers to enjoy the benefits of an electric motor – such as maximum torque from standstill – without having to worry about charging the battery. The presence of the range extender also means that the battery can be made much smaller (just 1/20th the size of the one in the Leaf), enabling it to be placed under the front seats to maintain interior space. All-in-all, the Note e-Power delivers a fuel economy figure of up to 37.2 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle. This according to paultan.org.

toyota-tank-roomy-daihatsu-thor-japan-november-2016-picture-courtesy-autoc-one-jpThe Toyota Tank and Roomy both land directly inside the Japanese Top 30 in November.

The Toyota Prius (+121%) is relegated to 2nd place ahead of the Toyota Aqua (-19%), Sienta (+14%) and Honda Freed (+262%). Notice also the Nissan Serena up 92% year-on-year but down 4 spots on October to #7, the Toyota Vellfire up 52% to #11, the Toyota Passo up 51% to #12, Subaru Impreza up 94%, the Subaru Forester up 44% to #22 and the Mazda CX-3 reappearing in the ranking at #30. Two all-new launches directly land inside the Japanese Top 30 in November: the Toyota Tank (#26) and Roomy (#27) which along with the Daihatsu Thor and Subaru Justy are replacing the Toyota Ractis, bB and Daihatsu Coo Materia. In the kei car aisle, the Honda N-BOX (+5%), Daihatsu Move (+69%) and Tanto (-6%) dominate.

Previous month: Japan October 2016: Nissan Serena shoots up to #3 as market nudges down

One year ago: Japan November 2015: Toyota Voxy up, Volkswagen down 32%

Full November 2016 Top 58 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars below.

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Japan October 2016: Serena shoots up to #3 as market nudges down

nissan-serena-japan-october-2016-picture-courtesy-autoc-one-jpHero of the month: the Nissan Serena. 

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It’s a second consecutive month just edging into negative territory for Japanese new car sales at -0.4% year-on-year in October to 378.741 registrations, bringing the year-to-date tally down 3.1% to 4.155.125 units. Toyota remains master in command but drops 2% to 119.115 sales and 31.5% share, still slightly above its YTD level (30.7%). Honda gains 3% to hit 15.1%, distancing Suzuki (-5%), Daihatsu (+1%), Nissan (-0.3%), Mazda (-14%) and Subaru (+15%) as the Top 7 is unchanged on both September and YTD. Mitsubishi (-2%) returns to more normal levels now that the uncertainty around its buyout by Nissan has evaporated. Mercedes (+11%) continues to dominate foreigners above BMW (+5%) while both Volkswagen (+25%) and Audi (+37%) breathe a sigh of relief but the comparison set in October 2015 just after the emissions scandal broke is particularly weak. Further down, notice Jeep (+24%), Peugeot (+48%), Renault (+62%), Abarth (+224%) and Smart (+938%) posting imposing year-on-year gains.

honda-freed-japan-october-2016-picture-courtesy-hondaThe new model pushes the Honda Freed up to 5th place overall.

Over in the models ranking, the top ranks suddenly get tighter with the Toyota Prius holding to the pole position for dear life with 14.053 sales (+74%) but is now just 1.573 units above the Toyota Aqua (-20%) – that gap was 4.553 sales last month. The big event in October is the new generation Nissan Serena shooting up 6 spots on last month and 232% year-on-year to third place with 12.408 sales. Just below the Toyota Sienta down 1% at #4, the Honda Freed also gets a boost thanks to its facelift at +201% year-on-year and up 20 ranks on last month to #5. Notice also the Toyota Passo (+68%), Toyota Vellfire (+33%), Mazda Axela (+23%), Subaru Levorg (+58%), Toyota Premio (+82%), Subaru Forester (+157%) and Toyota Estima (+48%) all in frank improvement compared to last year. In the kei cars aisle, the Honda N-BOX (+13%) keeps the lead nut the Daihatsu Move (+83%) is getting closer while the Nissan Dayz steps up to third place overall despite dropping 2% this month. The Toyota Pixis also shines at +40%.

Previous month: Japan September 2016: Toyota and Honda stay positive, market down 0.5%

One year ago: Japan October 2015: Toyota Sienta and Daihatsu Cast impress

Full October 2016 Top 50 All-brands, Top 30 regular cars and Top 35 kei cars below.

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Japan September 2016: Toyota & Honda stay positive, market down 0.5%

toyota-estima-japan-september-2016-picture-courtesy-autoc-one-jpThe new Estima (+97%) helps Toyota gain 11% at home in September. 

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 35 All-kei cars *

* See the Top 52 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 20 foreigners by clicking on the title *

Note the August 2016 post has now been updated with kei cars data

After getting back into positive last month, the Japanese new car market is down 0.5% in September to 476.771 registrations, meaning the year-to-date tally is now down 3.4% to 3.776.386 units. Toyota continues to frankly outperform its home market with a stunning 11% rise in September to 144.152 sales and 30.2% share, followed by Honda up 3% to 70.129 and 14.7%. Suzuki (-1%), Daihatsu (-7%), Nissan (-16%), Mazda (-11%) and Subaru (-3%) on the other hand all decline. Isuzu (+8%) and Mercedes (+3%) are the only other two manufacturers posting positive results inside the Top 10, with Mitsubishi (-41%) freefalling on the wake of its fuel economy scandal. Further down, BMW (+14%) remains above Volkswagen (-16%) for the #2 foreign spot, while Jeep (+22%), Porsche (+26%), Mini (+36%), Land Rover (+40%), Peugeot (+42%), DS (+49%), Renault (+69%), Abarth (+100%), Jaguar (+101%) and Smart (+9600%!) all post spectacular gains.

abarth-124-spider-japan-september-2016-picture-courtesy-autoc-one-jpAbarth doubles its sales year-on-year in September thanks to the 124 Spider launch. 

The Toyota Prius (+112%) remains the best-selling nameplate in the country by far with 20.043 sales, ahead of the Toyota Aqua (-15%) with the Sienta making the podium 100% Toyota among regular cars. The Honda Fit (+20%), Toyota Voxy (+17%), Honda Vezel (+32%) and Toyota Passo (+113%) all lodge double-digit gains at least but the Nissan Serena only gets a 6% push from the new generation. Further down, notice the Mazda Axela (+52%), Toyota Crown (+41%), Estima (+97%), Honda Odyssey (+146%) and Subaru Forester (+78%). The Honda N-BOX (+17%) leads the kei cars ranking once again with over 20.000 sales, distancing the Daihatsu Tanto (-13%), Move (+35%) and Nissan Dayz (-21%).

jeep-wrangler-japan-september-2016-picture-courtesy-mft2016-comThe Jeep Wrangler ranks among the 20 best-selling foreign models for the first time. 

The foreign models ranking for Q3 2016 – only quarterly data is released – reserves more surprises than usual: the Mini (all versions) reclaims the top spot thanks to sales up 25% year-on-year to 5.980, oovertaking the VW Golf down 15% to 5.734 but still in the year-to-date lead so far at 17.906 (-14%) vs. 17.790 (+14%) for the Mini. The Mercedes C-Class’ 20% drop in third place is more than compensated by a 98% surge to 4th position by the E-Class with 3.240 sales – it ranked #17 in Q2. The BMW 2 Series and Mercedes A-Class both gain 16%, the Audi A4 (#13) and BMW X1 (#14) remain solid thanks to new generations and the Jeep Wrangler debuts in the Top 20 at #17, the very first Jeep to rank among the 20 best-selling foreigners in Japan.

Previous month: Japan August 2016: Toyota (+16%) outpaces market back in positive

One year ago: Japan September 2015: Toyota Sienta hits record volume again

Full September 2016 Top 52 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei and Top 20 foreigners below.

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Japan August 2016: Toyota (+16%) outpaces market back in positive

Toyota Prius Japan August 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe Toyota Prius remains the uncontested leader of the Japanese market.

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August marks only the second month of year-on-year gains in Japan so far in 2016 along with April with overall sales up 2.9% to 336.661. The year-to-date tally however remains in negative territory at -3.8% to 3.299.615 units. Imports are up 0.5% to 19.782 or 5.9% share. Bolstered by the new Prius (+164%), Passo (+143%) and Estima (+196%), Toyota once again frankly outpaces its home market with deliveries up a flamboyant 16% year-on-year – the largest jump in the Top 12 – to 110.270 for a 32.8% market share vs. 30.7% year-to-date. Honda follows but drops 9% ahead of Suzuki (+4%), Daihatsu (+5%) and Nissan (-8%). Mazda (-14%) and Mitsubishi (-20%) struggle, the latter being the object of yet another stop sale following new erroneous fuel economy claims.

BMW X1 Japan August 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpBoth Mercedes and BMW now outsell Volkswagen in Japan. 

Among foreign manufacturers, Mercedes is once again the only one to crack the Top 10 thanks to sales up 5% to 4.805. BMW surges 16% to 3.374 to overtake Volkswagen, freefalling again at -33% to 2.908 registrations. Audi (-7%) is also struggling. Mini (+21%), Volvo (+14%), Jeep (+55%), Smart (+5840%), Jaguar (+32%), Abarth (+82%) and Citroen (+54%) all post spectacular gains.

Nissan Serena Japan August 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe new generation lifts the Nissan Serena back up to #11. 

The Toyota Prius comfortably holds onto its best-selling car crown with sales up 164% year-on-year to 17.503 thanks to the new generation. It distances the Toyota Aqua (-9%), Sienta (+23%), Honda Fit (+4%) and Toyota Passo (+143%), the latter also boosted by a new model. The Nissan Serena is almost back inside the Top 10 (#11) now that the new generation has become widely available. The Toyota Estima (+196%), Mazda Axela (+144%), Honda Odyssey (+112%) and Subaru Forester (+37%) are the other great gainers within the Top 30, all helped by a facelift. In the kei car aisle, the Honda N-BOX (+28%) and Daihatsu Tanto (+5%) cement their domination with positive results, distancing the Nissan Dayz (-21%) and Suzuki Alto (-16%) while the Suzuki Spacia (+32%) and Hustler (+8%) shine just below.

Previous month: Japan July 2016: Toyota up to 35.2% share, Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK back

One year ago: Japan August 2015: Toyota Sienta improves 8-fold to #2 overall

Full August 2016 Top 55 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 34 kei cars below.

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Japan July 2016: Toyota up to 35.2%, Nissan Dayz & Mitsubishi eK back

Toyota Estima Japan July 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe facelifted Estima (+117%) helps Toyota gain 10% at home in July.

* See the Top 55 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars by clicking on the title *

New vehicle sales in Japan are down 2% in July to 415.606, once again – but less than in previous months – handicapped by weak kei car sales down 6% to 133.853 while regular cars are down just 0.2% to 281.753. Year-to-date, the Japanese market is now down 3.5% to 2.962.955 sales in 7 months, with kei cars down 13% to 1.039.327 and regular cars up 0.5% to 1.923.628.

Smart Forfour Japan July 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpAn all-new lineup propels Smart sales up 34-fold year-on-year in Japan in July. 

Toyota tightens its grip on its home market even further with deliveries up 10% to 146.328 for a mammoth 35.2% share vs. 30.5% so far in 2016. Honda (-11%) and Suzuki (-4%) follow while Daihatsu gains 11% in 4th place ahead of Nissan (-22%), Mazda (-21%) and Subaru (-13%) all posting heavy losses. Isuzu (+13%), Mercedes (+15%), Hino (+9%), BMW (+14%), Mini (+14%), Volvo (+5%) and Jeep (+41%) also deliver year-on-year gains inside the Top 20 while further down Porsche (+18%), Peugeot (+54%), Smart (+3338%) and Jaguar (+151%) impress.

Toyota Passo Japan July 2016The Toyota Passo (right) is up 118% thanks to two new models.

The Toyota Prius remains by far the best-selling nameplate in the country with sales up 3-fold on a year ago to 27.988 thanks to the new model. The Toyota Aqua (-11%) and Sienta (+48%) follow while the Nissan Note (+2%) gains two spots on June to #4. The Toyota Passo (+118%), Vitz (+7%), Honda Vezel (+8%) and Shuttle (+11%) are the only other cars gaining ground year-on-year inside the Top 15. Further down, notice the Suzuki Solio (+69%), Mazda Axela (+77%), Toyota Estima (+111%) helped by its facelift, Honda Odyssey (+117%) and Toyota Auris (+99%) posting spectacular gains. The Nissan Serena, #10 in June, steps out of the Top 30 while the new model spreads out into dealerships across the country.

Mitsubishi eK Japan July 2016Deliveries of Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK (pictured) have resumed in Japan. 

In the kei car aisle, both the Honda N-BOX (+10%) and Daihatsu Tanto (+9%) post positive year-on-year results atop the sales charts, but the big news is the return in the ranking of the Nissan Dayz (#4) and Mitsubishi eK (#13) whose sales were halted in the wake of the fuel economy scandal that engulfed Mitsubishi back in April. The Suzuki Alto (-16%), Daihatsu Move (-19%) and Suzuki Wagon R (-37%) all crumble down but the Suzuki Spacia (+34%) and Honda N-WGN (+2%) improve while the new Daihatsu Cast steps out of the Top 10 (#11).

Previous post: Japan First Half 2016: Japan victim of fuel economy scandal

Previous month: Japan June 2016: Nissan, Mazda & Mitsubishi pull market down

One year ago: Japan July 2015: New generation lifts Toyota Sienta to #8

Full July 2016 Top 55 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars below.

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Japan First Half 2016: Mitsubishi victim of fuel economy scandal

Mitsubishi eK Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy response.jpMitsubishi sales drop 14% so far in 2016 at home, helping pull the market down. 

* See the Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei and Top 20 foreigners by clicking on the title *

Halfway through 2016, the Japanese new light vehicle market is down for the 2nd consecutive year at -5% to 2.547.345 units, single-handedly pulled down by kei cars at -13% to 1.045.456 sales whereas regular cars are up 0.7% to 1.641.875 including 170.366 imports (+2%). Kei sales were hurt by a high comparison level in 2015 when buyers rushed to purchase before a tax hike in April, but also the fuel economy rating scandal that has led to the halting of Mitsubishi eK and Nissan Dayz and Nissan potentially taking controlling stake in Mitsubishi. Market leader Toyota however withheld the storm beautifully with volumes up 2% to 757.165, improving its already overwhelming market share by two percentage points to 29.7%.

Toyota Prius Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy car.watch.impress.co.jpThe Toyota Prius returns to the Japanese pole position it held from 2009 to 2012.

It is one of only two manufacturers gaining ground in the Top 10 along with Isuzu at #9 (+3%). All other actors fall: Mazda (-22%) is hit the hardest just as its entire lineup is ageing and the CX-3 is now out of it honeymoon period with customers. Nissan and Mitsubishi are both equally penalised by the fuel economy scandal (-14%), Subaru drops 10%, Daihatsu is down 8%, Honda down 6% and Suzuki down 3%. Lexus (+26%) is the only Japanese brand to really take off over the period. Mercedes remains the #1 foreign marque in the country despite sales down 1% to 32.241. That’s a much better hold than Volkswagen (-15%), threatened for 2nd spot by BMW (+9%). Peugeot (+22%), Jeep (+25%), Fiat (+29%), Jaguar (+163%) and Smart (+1773%) impress.

Toyota Sienta Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy yahoo.jpThe Toyota Sienta is up 9-fold to third place overall. 

Model-wise, thanks to the new generation the Toyota Prius has resumed the iron-fist domination of its home market that was the norm from 2009 to 2012 before the arrival of the Aqua. The Prius doubles its sales compared to the previous gen a year ago (+100% exactly) to snap almost 143.000 deliveries, distancing the Aqua just under 90.000 (-26%). Toyota monopolises the podium with the Sienta up 9-fold on last year here too thanks to a new model at a little over 61.000 sales. The Honda Fit (-13%), Nissan Note (-5%), Toyota Voxy (-1%) and Corolla (-20%) follow but all lose ground. The Nissan X-Trail (+11%), Toyota Passo (+23%), Honda StepWGN (+19%) and Suzuki Solio (+47%) all post double-digit gains while the Honda Shuttle (+172%), Odyssey (+198%), Subaru Forester (+145%) and Toyota Land Cruiser (+141%) take off. The Suzuki Ignis lands at #27.

Mercedes GLC Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpMercedes is the #1 foreign brand in Japan, the GLC lands at #15. 

Over in the kei cars aisle, the Honda N-BOX holds the fort despite a 10% drop, ahead of the Daihatsu Tanto up 2% and one only three nameplates gaining ground year-on-year along with the Toyota Pixis (+12%) and Honda S660(+83%). The Suzuki Alto (-8%), Nissan Dayz (-41%) and Honda N-WGN (-16%) round up the Top 5 and the Daihatsu Cast is the only newcomer in these troubled times, landing at #11 with 39.193 sales. The VW Golf remains the best-selling foreigner in Japan despite a 14% year-on-year drop but is now under pressure from the Mini (all versions) up 14% and #1 over Q2. The Mercedes C-Class (-26%), BMW 3 Series (-9%) and VW Polo (-21%) round up the Top 5 but freefall, while the BMW 2 Series (+54%), Mercedes CLA (+61%), VW Passat (#12), BMW X1 (#14) and Mercedes GLC, landing directly at #15, all impress.

Previous post: Japan June 2016: Nissan, Mazda & Mitsubishi pull market down

One year ago: Japan First Half 2015: Mercedes impressive in market down 11%

Full H1 2016 Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 30 kei and Top 20 foreigners below.

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Japan June 2016: Nissan, Mazda & Mitsubishi pull market down

Nissan Dayz Japan June 2016Halted sales of Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK have handicapped the Japanese market in June.

* See the Top 55 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 30 kei and Top 20 foreigners by clicking on the title *

This update was created in collaboration with Stephen Bloom.

Japan’s automotive market continues to struggle in the wake of Mitsubishi’s fuel economy testing scandal and the subsequent halt in production of key kei car models.  Monthly sales are down 5% from last year to 420.907 registrations in June. Regular cars are up 3% to 404.813 with imports up 7% to 31.024, but again the kei segment holds up the overall totals: kei sales are down a substantial 18% to 133.137 units, bringing down the bottom lines of Nissan (-27%) and Mitsubishi (-52%). Mazda is also down (-36%) while Subaru (+14%), Isuzu (+12%), Hino (+10%) and Lexus (+10%) both post double-digit increases and market leader Toyota gains significant share thanks to deliveries up 8% to 32.9% of the market vs. 29.7% so far this year.

Jeep Renegade Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy carview.co.jpJeep sales in Japan are up 39% in June thanks to the Renegade.

Thanks to stable sales, Mercedes remains the most popular foreign manufacturer in Japan at #9 overall with 6.370 while BMW (+9%) overtakes Volkswagen (-6%) to take the #2 spots, #11 overall. Audi (+8%), Mini (+9%) and Jeep (+39%) are the only other foreigners in the Top 20. Smart (+1825%), Jaguar (+187%) Rolls-Royce (+180%) take off but Cadillac (-36%), Chevrolet (-37%), Ford (-48%) and Chrysler (-71%) all implode. It’s not a good time being an American marque in Japan…

Toyota Passo Moda Japan June 2016The Toyota Passo is up 104% year-on-year thanks to the new model. 

The new Toyota Prius remains the best-selling car in Japan with sales up 164% over last year thanks to the new model, soaring to 28.785 registrations. The next five models remain unchanged on last month including the new Sienta (+735%) and Passo (+104%) up by triple digits like the Prius over their previous generations. The Toyota Estima re-enters this month at #30 thanks to a third facelift for this venerable model that debuted a decade ago.

Honda N-BOX Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe Honda N-BOX is the best-selling kei car in Japan in June. 

Mitsubishi was just recently allowed to resume production of its eK and Nissan Dayz models which return to dealerships with a 6% reduction in fuel economy ratings. It will be interesting to see how sales will rebound in the second half of the year, but for now registrations in June remain halted. The Honda N-BOX keeps the top spot with 15.622 units and widens the gap with the Daihatsu Tanto, staying at #2 with 12.340 units. The Honda N-WGN is up 11% and jumps 3 spots to #3 this month.

Mini 5 doors Japan June 2016The Mini is the best-selling foreign model in Japan over Q2 2016.

Over on the foreign model chart, Mini is up 19% to 5.800 units over the second quarter – note all Mini variants are included in this total – bumping the VW Golf to #2, though the Golf retains the year-to-date lead. The Mercedes C-Class stays at #3 while the BMW 2 Series rises 79% to take the #4 spot from the 3 Series. Further down the chart, the Audi A1 and A4 are joined by the BMW 5 Series, all entering the Top 20 this quarter.

Previous month: Japan May 2016: Nissan (-26%) and Mitsubishi (-51%) sink

One year ago:: Japan June 2015: Facelifted Toyota Corolla confirms #2 spot

Full June 2016 Top 55 All-brands, Top 30 regular cars, Top 30 kei cars and Q2 2016 Top 20 foreigners.

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Japan May 2016: Nissan (-26%) and Mitsubishi (-51%) sink

Toyota Passo Moda Japan May 2016. Picture courtesy okinawa.o-cross.netThe new generation Toyota Passo (Moda variant pictured) leaps to 5th place in May. 

* See the Top 50 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 30 kei cars by clicking on the title *

This Japan update was created with the collaboration of Stephen Bloom.

The Japanese market continues to feel the effects of the fuel economy testing scandal that erupted at Mitsubishi earlier this year. Facing increased government scrutiny, Suzuki is the latest to reveal that improper methods were used to test the fuel economy of many of its vehicles. Retesting has actually shown that the fuel economy of affected Suzuki models is roughly the same or even better than published figures, but the continuing investigation has already damaged the company’s reputation and stock. As both Suzuki and Mitsubishi are among Japan’s leading manufacturers of kei minicars, that segment is particularly hit this month with sales down 14% to 107,834 units. In contrast, regular vehicles are up an encouraging 6.6% to 223.753 registrations with foreign brands up 6.8% to 21.488, but this isn’t enough to balance the losses from the fuel testing scandals. Overall sales are down 1.2% from last year to 331.587 units, with the year-to-date total down 4.8% to 2.126.438 deliveries.

Suzuki Ignis Japan May 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe new Ignis enables Suzuki to limits its fall to -7% in the midst of a fuel testing scandal. 

Toyota posts a splendid double-digit increase at 11% to take off to 31.8% share vs. 29.1% so far in 2016, while in its wake Honda is up 4% to 14.7% share and Suzuki’s overall sales are down 7% to 13.9% share in the wake of its troubles as its losses in the kei market (-15%) were somewhat mitigated by strong sales of the new Ignis and other non-kei models (+82%). Suzuki still distances Daihatsu, itself up 6% to 11.7%. Mazda is down 33% compared to last May when the latest Roadster further added to the boost from the new CX-3 and Demio. Mitsubishi (-51%) and Nissan (-26%) are down huge percentages as production and sales of their most popular kei models remains halted.

Smart Forfour Japan May 2016. Picture courtesy setagaya.co.jpThe new lineup has Smart increase its sales 15-fold in May in Japan.

Mercedes remains the most popular foreign manufacturers, evolving like the market at +8% to 4.649 units and leaping to 9th place overall – it was #12 in April. Volkswagen finally returns to growth after 7 consecutive months of decline triggered by its emissions scandal – it lost 48% last October. VW gains 10% in May to 4.-15 sales and it’s Audi that now suffers at -16%. Notice also Mini up 16%, Volvo up 24%, Jeep up 48%, Smart up 15-fold thanks to the new Fortwo and Forfour, Jaguar up 232% and DS up 83%.

Toyota Passo Moda Japan May 2016The new Toyota Passo is available in two bodies: the Passo and retro-looking Passo “Moda” 

Toyota continues to dominate the models chart this month starting with the Toyota Prius as Japan’s best-selling model for a sixth consecutive time, up 140% to 21.527 units, followed by the Aqua again at #2 and the Sienta at #3. The new third generation Passo leaps five places on April to #5 with sales up 129% to 6.784 units in its first full month on the market. After being available in Europe since 2013, Toyota finally released in April a hybrid version of the Auris in its home market boosting sales 177% and placing the nameplate in the Top 30 for the first time since February 2010. The Auris, sold elsewhere as the Corolla hatchback and Scion iM, remains a niche model at home as it falls into a different class than the smaller JDM Corolla.

Mitsubishi ek Japan May 2016. Picture courtesy carsensor.netMitsubishi plunges 51% as eK sales (pictured) remain halted. 

Things remain shaky over on the kei charts as production and sales of the Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK have stopped in the wake of the testing scandal. The Nissan Dayz remains the third best-selling kei model for the year, however that could quickly change if production doesn’t resume soon. Last year’s champion, Honda N-BOX, remains at the top of the chart for a third consecutive month with sales up 10% to 11.487 units. In a close race, the Daihatsu Tanto is up 30% and 11.283 units to place at #2 and even narrowly outselling the Toyota Aqua this month. With the exception of the Jimny, all other Suzuki models poste double digit decreases. The Honda N-WGN is up 20% and climbs one place to #6. Several other models show more modest increases as the kei market shows some signs of stabilization after 2014’s change to the vehicle taxes.

Previous month: Japan April 2016: Mitsubishi scandal reshapes local auto industry

One year ago: Japan May 2015: Honda Shuttle and Mazda Roadster land

Full May 2016 Top 50 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 30 kei cars below.

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Japan April 2016: Mitsubishi scandal reshapes local auto industry

Mitsubishi logoThe Mitsubishi fuel economy scandal is already reshaping the Japanese and worldwide auto industry. 

* See the Top 30 best-selling cars, Top 30 kei car & Top 55 brands by clicking on the title *

This post was created in collaboration with Stephen Bloom.

The Japanese market begins to show some signs of recovery just in time for the start of a new fiscal year. April’s monthly sales are up 1.6% from last year to 324.717 units, meaning the year-to-date total is now down 5.5% to 1.794.851 deliveries. Regular vehicles are up 7.2% to 212.683 registrations and imports improve 6% to 16.071. The kei car segment that was hit this time last year with a tax increase was anticipated to contribute significantly to this month’s growth, but just the opposite was true on account of a scandal that is reshaping the Japanese auto industry. In the wake of last year’s scandal at Volkswagen, Mitsubishi admitted last month to manipulating fuel economy test data for 25 years which led to a massive devaluation of the company and a $2 billion buyout by Nissan.

Ironically, it was Nissan that discovered the discrepancies earlier this year between Mitsubishi’s and actual fuel consumption data of four kei models produced by the two company’s joint venture, NMKV. The scandal resulted in a stop-sale of the affected models and quickly escalated as news broke of the company submitting manipulated data since 1991 and culminated with Nissan acquiring a controlling stake of Mitsubishi. This new control by Renault-Nissan will have implications not only in Japan, but on the global automotive market also.

Nissan Dayz Japan April 2016The Nissan Dayz and its twin the Mitsubishi eK are under a stop-sale order in Japan 

As a result of the halt to sales of the popular Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK, it is only fitting to start with the kei car market this month. Overall sales in the segment fall by 7.5% to 112.034 units with Nissan and Mitsubishi’s kei car sales dropping by 51% and 45% respectively. The top four models all post double-digit gains over last April when the tax increase for kei car taxes dampened sales. At the top of the chart the Honda N-BOX adds another 11.691 units to extend its lead over the Daihatsu Tanto which places again at #2. Suzuki takes the next four spots on the chart starting with the Alto at #3, followed by the Spacia climbing 7 places to #4, Hustler, and WagonR. Sales of the Mitsubishi-made Nissan Dayz decreased 67% following a stop-sale causing it to fall eight places to #11 in the wake of the fuel economy scandal. Its cousin, the Mitsubishi eK, drops by 64% to #19. Sales of both models, including the Dayz Roox and eK Space wagon versions, have not yet resumed.

Suzuki Ignis Japan April 2016. Picture courtesy antenna.jp

The new Toyota Prius remains the champ of the regular car chart with sales up 137% to 20.770. The Toyota Aqua stays in second place while the new Sienta reclaims the #3 spot from the Honda Fit and even leads in year to date totals aided by the new model’s sales up 953% over last year. Also boosted by a new generation is the Toyota Passo which is up 33%, climbing eleven spots to #10. And finally making its debut on the chart this month, the new Suzuki Ignis comes in at #21 having sold 7.633 units since its February launch, including 2.778 in April alone.

Previous month: Japan March 2016: Kei cars pull market down 9%, Toyota Prius reigns

One year ago: Japan April 2015: Toyota Esquire and Honda StepWGN shine

Full April 2016 Top 30 cars, Top 30 kei cars and Top 55 All-brands below.

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