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. 

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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

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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

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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.

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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. 

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

Toyota Prius Japan March 2016. Picture courtesy openers.jpThe Toyota Prius remains by far the most popular nameplate in Japan. 

* See the Top 53 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei cars and Top 20 foreigners by clicking on the title *

This article was written in collaboration with Stephen Bloom

March is typically a high volume month with car manufacturers offering big incentives before the start of the new fiscal year on April 1. This holds true again with a 41% increase over February, but year-over-year figures are not so fortunate. Monthly sales are down 8.6% from last year to 635.901 registrations. Regular cars are down 3.2% to 404.813 with imports down 7% to 37.069, but again the kei segment weighed down the overall totals dramatically. Kei sales are down a dramatic 16.7% to 231.088 though this was amplified as March 2015 sales were inflated ahead of the impending tax increase. As a result sales are anticipated to normalize somewhat next month.

VW Golf Japan March 2016. Picture courtesy of motordays.comThe VW Golf is the most popular foreigner over Q1 but Volkswagen sales are down 25%. 

Lexus (+41%) is the only Japanese brand that manages to stay in the black this month. Mitsubishi (-1%) and Suzuki (-7%) fare better than the average even with most of their lineup being kei cars, while Subaru (-33%) and Mazda (-24%) suffer the most. Mercedes (8.540 units) is the most popular foreign brand above BMW (6.516) while Volkswagen (-27%) and Audi (-21%) continue to be penalised for their emissions cheating scandal.

Honda Odyssey Japan March 2016Honda Odyssey (Australian model pictured) 

The new Toyota Prius remains the best-selling car in Japan with sales up 69% over the previous generation to 31.434 registrations. The top of the chart also remains unchanged since last month with the Toyota Aqua at #2 followed by the Honda Fit and Nissan Note. The new Toyota Sienta continues to cement its postion ahead of the Toyota Corolla and is so far staying close to both the Fit and Note in YTD totals. With no new models debuting last month there aren’t many surprises further down the chart though the recently debuted Suzuki Ignis is notably absent. The Honda Odyssey remains in the top 30 thanks to the recent addition of a hybrid version which helped boost sales 60% over last year.

Honda S660 Japan March 2016. Picture courtesy openers.jpHonda S660

Most kei models posted double digit drops compared to the pre-tax hike rally a year ago. Last year’s champion, the Honda N-BOX, retakes the top spot with 25.542 units well ahead of the Daihatsu Tanto which falls to #2 after its narrow lead last month. The Nissan Dayz and Suzuki Alto keep their #3 and #4 spots while the Suzuki WagonR jumps 4 spots to take #5 by just 20 units more than Honda’s N-WGN. A year after reigniting the kei sport segment the Daihatsu Copen is now being outsold by its rival, the Honda S660, roughly 2:1.

Mercedes GLC Japan March 2016. Picture coutesy autoc-one.jpThe Mercedes GLC-Class lands directly at #13 in the Q1 2016 foreign models ranking. 

As is the case each quarter, we can share the top-selling foreign models for the first 3 months of 2016. The VW Golf retakes the top postion with 6.836 units after slipping last quarter in the wake of the diesel scandal. Mini is back in the #2 spot with 6.010 units (this includes the Countryman and Paceman) though still well ahead of the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series which finish at #3 and #4 respectively. VW’s Polo also had a rebound, climbing 3 places to #5. Two new models make their debut on the chart this quarter: the Mercedes GLC-Class lands firmly at #13 with 1.654 units after just being released in Japan on February 9, and the smart for four, which went on sale in January, places at #18 with 1,209 units. The BMW X1 also returns inside the Top 20 thanks to its facelift: it ranks #16.

Previous post: Japan Full Year 2015: Now with exclusive Top 184 All-local models

Previous month: Japan February 2016: Toyota Prius stays put in market down 6%

One year ago: Japan March 2015: Mazda CX-3 up, Honda S660 lands

Full March 2016 Top 53 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei cars and Q1 2016 Top 20 imports below.

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Japan Full Year 2015: Now with exclusive Top 184 All-local models

Daihatsu Tanto Japan 2015. Picture courtesy response.jpThe Daihatsu Tanto reclaims the #1 kei-car title once different variants are split.

* See the Top 184 All-local models by clicking on the title *

This report was created with the collaboration of Stephen Bloom.

As is the tradition at BSCB we can share with you today an exclusive All-local models ranking by variant (Corolla Axio and Corolla Fielder separated for example), making the exploration of this unique market even more interesting. The Toyota Aqua still wins at this little game with 215.525 sales but the Daihatsu Tanto reclaims the kei-car lead now that the Honda NBOX sheds its NBOX Slash (#53) and NBOX+ (#89) variants. Honda still manages to place three nameplates inside the Top 10, the most of any manufacturer vs. just two for Toyota, Daihatsu and Suzuki. The Toyota Prius, now in its hatchback guise, is relegated to #14 with the Prius Alpha at #29.

Mazda Roadster Japan 2015Good result for the renewed Mazda Roadster in Japan. 

This ranking also unveils the lesser-selling “regular” cars outside of the familiar Top 30 published monthly. We then discover which nameplates just missed out on a Top 30 regular ranking in 2015, namely the Honda Grace, Toyota Porte, Subaru Forester and Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (accounting for 85.5% of overall Land Cruiser sales). The Lexus NX also shines at #56, as do the Mitsubishi Outlander (+16%). Toyota Premio (+4%) and Subaru Legacy Outback (+428%). The renewed Mazda Roadster (aka MX-5) is up 80 spots to #82 vs. #162 in 2014, the Lexus RC is up 37 to #107 and the Subaru Exiga Crossover 7 is up 40% to #120.

Toyota Mirai Japan 2015. Picture courtesy response.jpThe Toyota Mirai convinced 411 clients in Japan in 2015. 

Among 2015 launches, let’s also notice the Honda Legend landing at #127 with 2.790 sales, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross arriving at #142 with 1.544 units, the Lexus LX finally making its appearance in the Japanese sales charts at #155 with 793 deliveries and the much anticipated Toyota Mirai pointing its eco-friendly bonnet at #163 with 411 clients.

Previous post: Japan February 2016: Toyota Prius stays put in market down 6%

Original 2015 post: Japan Full Year 2015: Toyota Aqua leads, tax hike hurts kei cars

Previous year: Japan Full Year 2014: Now with exclusive Top 189 All-local models

Two years ago:Japan Full Year 2013: Now with exclusive Top 165 All-local models

Full Year 2015 Top 184 All-local models vs. Full 2014 figures below.

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