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Japan December 2014: Honda Grace lands directly at #10

January 11th, 2015 No comments

Honda Grace Japan December 2014. Picture courtesy of car.watch.impress.co.jpHonda Grace

After a very turbulent year the Japanese auto market ends 2014 on a positive note, ending 5 consecutive months of YOY declines up 2% in December. Kei sales are pulling the market up at a massive +18.5% in December. In the “traditional” models ranking, the big news this month is the debut of the Honda’s newest dedicated hybrid model, the Grace, at #10 with 5,138 sales. Mostly the same as the Fit-based sedan known in other parts of the world as the Honda City, the Grace is marketed as smaller version of its larger Accord and soon to be released Legend (Acura RLX) brothers. The Grace also now effectively replaces the now-discontinued Insight and will compete against the Toyota Corolla Axio.

Toyota Esquire Japan December 2014Toyota Esquire

After its significant debut last month the new Toyota Esquire climbs a further 4 spots to #7 with 5,712 units while the chart above remains unchanged since last month. The new Demio is again at #4 (7,419 sales) as its AWD model was released this month following the 2WD gasoline and diesel versions in the months prior. Further down the chart the Subaru Impreza (#16) and Forester (#26) both climb thanks to mid-cycle refreshed models going on sale the end of November, making it 3 Subarus in the Top 30 along with the Levorg at #22.

Suzuki Alto Japan December 2014Suzuki Alto

Over on the Kei car side, like in November the Daihatsu Tanto is not the best seller this month as it suffers from the recent arrivals of the new Wake (up to #9 and 9,354 sales) and the new generation Move climbing 7 spots on November to #3 and 16,361 sales. #1 goes to the Suzuki WagonR, whose sales (18,255 in December) have been energised the past several months due to the introduction of Suzuki’s “S-ene charge” technology. Suzuki also released this month the newest yet retro-styled Alto which climbs to #6 with 11,845 sales.

Previous month: Japan November 2014: Daihatsu Wake and Toyota Esquire land

One year ago: Japan December 2014: Honda Fit leads, Vezel lands at #25

Full December 2014 Top 30 models and Top 35 Kei cars Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Japan

Japan Imports Q4 2014: Mercedes C-Class up to 2nd place

January 11th, 2015 No comments

Mercedes C Class Japan December 2014. Picture courtesy of response.jpMercedes C-Class

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

In a market down 11%, imports are up a robust 2% year-on-year in Japan to 35,238 deliveries for a 17.8% market share. A complete brands rankings will be published in the Full Year 2014 updates, for now I give you the traditional quarterly imported models update for Japan. As always Japanese car buyers are extremely fickle and tire of novelty real fast. Case in point: a little bit over a year after the 7th generation launched here, the VW Golf is already down 17% but remains in pole position with 7,603 sales. Reversely, the new gen Mercedes C-Class properly sparkles: up 180% year-on-year over the last quarter of 2014 to a fantastic 2nd place with 6,407 units sold, kicking Mini (all models) down to #3 despite sales up 19%.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 220 CDI 4MATIC (X156) 2013The Mercedes GLA is inside the imported Top 10…

Excellent performance of the VW Polo up 55% to #4 and of the Audi A3 up 63% to #6 thanks to the new sedan. German premium manufacturers tighten their grip over the imported models ranking even further with the Mercedes GLA breaking into the Top 10 for the first time thanks to 1,824 sales, the Mercedes CLA back up to #16, the BMW 4 Series up one spot on Q3 to #17 and the BMW 2 Series landing directly among the Top 20 most successful imported nameplates in the country for its first quarter of sales at #20 and 943 units.

BMW 2 Series Japan December 2014. Picture courtesy of autoc-one.jp…while the BMW 2 Series is already inside the Top 20.

Previous post: Japan Imports Q2 2014: Mercedes C-Class up to third place

One year ago: Japan Q4 2013: VW Golf breaks volume record

Full Q4 2014 Top 20 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Japan

Japan November 2014: Daihatsu Wake and Toyota Esquire land

December 4th, 2014 No comments

Daihatsu Wake Japan November 2014. Picture courtesy of response.jpDaihatsu Wake

* See the Top 30 best-selling cars, kei cars and Top 13 local brands by clicking on the title *

November overall new car sales in Japan are down a depressing 9% year-on-year to to 416,139 units, the fifth consecutive month of decline. Most of the decrease comes from the regular sized vehicles down 13%, the biggest drop since April immediately following the sales tax increase. The auto market doesn’t entirely reflect the state of Japan’s economy though as 3 of the top 4 department store chains posted increases this month. As we saw from the record setting months last year at this time, big purchases like cars were probably disproportionately inflated in anticipation of the tax increase, so this decline is understandable.

Mazda Demio Japan November 2014. Picture courtesy of car.watch.impress.co.jpThe new generation Mazda Demio lifts the nameplate to its highest ranking in 3 years.

Imports are surprisingly down only 2% to 23,421 deliveries as do Kei cars to 176,932 units. November marked a big milestone for the Kei market as YTD sales have surpassed 2 million for only the third time in history (after 2006 and 2013). With YOY sales ahead 7%, 2014 should be a new all-time high for the kei market both volume- and share-wise. Suzuki and Mazda are the only manufacturers in positive this month. The former due to the success of the Hustler Kei car, and the latter owing to the new Demio up a further 6 spots on October and 254% year-on-year to #4 with 8,890 sales – its highest ranking since July 2011 when it placed #3 in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake which impacted Toyota the most and Hiroshima-based Mazda probably the least. The jump is due to the launch of the diesel variant one month after the petrol models: according to Mazda about 60% of the orders have been for the diesel.

Toyota Harrier Japan November 2014The Toyota Harrier rises to a best-ever 7th place in November.

Talking about diesel, as the French government announced it would like to phase it out, Mazda celebrated 100,000 cars sold at home with the Skyactiv-D diesel engine. Since its introduction in February 2012 Mazda has sold 100,325 diesel powered cars in Japan (through August 2014). Of the models available with the diesel engine this accounts to a take rate of approximately 60%. Broken down by model (with their respective diesel take rates) this included 72,182 CX-5’s (76%), 23,524 Atenzas (69%), and 4619 Axelas (14%).

Lexus NX Japan November 2014The Lexus NX is the phantom player in the Top 30…

In other model news, once again we discover that the Lexus NX should have placed in the October Top 30 at #24 with 2,026 registrations, it is unclear why Toyota would not communicate these results in time, given they are just formidable, putting the NX on track to surpass both the CT and IS as the brand’s best-selling nameplate at home YTD. The Toyota Aqua remains first with sales down just 4%, but below the drops are steep: the Prius is down 37% and reclaims the 2nd spot off the Honda Fit down 58%. The Toyota Harrier once again beats its ranking record, lifting it to #7 thanks to 6,741 sales.

Toyota Esquire Japan November 2014. Picture courtesy of ismcdn.jpToyota Esquire

Toyota has turned its hugely popular compact minivan twins Noah and Voxy into triplets. Seeing demand for a more luxurious minivan but smaller than the Alphard, Toyota revised the interior and slapped on a Crown-esque grill and voilà… the all “new” Esquire! The recipe seems to have worked as the Esquire, after going on sale on October 29, debuts at #11 and 5,316 units and seems to have left its two twins unaffected: the Voxy is up 78% year-on-year to #8 and 6,828 sales and the Noah is up 80% to #12 and 4,845 units. All-in-all, the triplets add up to a huge 16,989 sales which would place this model if it had only one name… in pole position!

Toyota Esquire Voxy Noah Japan November 2014. Picture courtesy of autoc-one.jpFrom left to right: Toyota Esquire, Voxy and Noah

Over on the Kei cars chart, Daihatsu aims to introduce a new sub-class of “ultra space” wagon with its new Wake model, which lands squarely (pun intended) at # 10. While not necessarily a direct competitor to the Suzuki Hustler, its timing and versatile interior (think mini Honda Element) that targets many of the same outdoor active-lifestyle consumers has created a new rivalry between these models and top two Kei manufacturers. The Wake went on sale on November 10 and likely cannibalised some sales from the Tanto that falls to #2 this month. This slip let the WagonR and Suzuki itself to grab the Kei crown this month.

Previous month: Japan October 2014: Toyota Harrier hits all-time record ranking

One year ago (cars): Japan November 2013: Honda Fit #1 again, Odyssey at highest in 9 years

One year ago (Kei cars): Japan Kei cars November 2013: Honda N-WGN lands

Full November 2014 Top 30 models, Kei cars and Top 13 local brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Japan

Japan October 2014: Toyota Harrier hits all-time record ranking, Mazda Demio in Top 10 for first time since July 2012

November 7th, 2014 No comments

Toyota Harrier Japan October 2014The Toyota Harrier is up to #8 at home this month.

* See the Top 30 best-selling models and All-local brands by clicking on the title! *

Note this article also contains KEI cars data below the jump. Thanks Stephen.

Another month in the red for new passenger car sales in Japan: down 9% year-on-year in October to 240,511 registrations, however year-to-date deliveries are still above 2013 at the same stage at 2,818,931 units, a 3% increase. The Toyota Aqua is now certain to be crowned best-selling car in Japan for the 2nd straight year , posting another pole position in October at 18,031 sales, evolving like the market at -10%. The Honda Fit (-42%) and Toyota Prius (-37%) are crumbling down however in 2nd and third place respectively while the Toyota Voxy continues to be boosted by the new model, up a gigantic 227% on October 2013 at #4 with 10,735 sales. The Honda Vezel settles down two ranks to #7, also its YTD ranking.

Mazda Demio Japan October 2014The Mazda Demio is back inside the Japanese Top 10.

The Toyota Harrier (aka Lexus RX), relaunched in January this year, is up 4 spots on September to break into the Japanese Top 10 for only the second time in the nameplate’s life (after last August), reaching a new all-time record ranking in the process at #8 with 6,665 sales, mostly the hybrid variant. As glanced at last month, the new generation Mazda Demio (aka Mazda2) lifts the nameplate to heights it had not seen in over 2 years: it is up 8 ranks on September to break into the Top 10 for the first time since July 2012 at #10 and 6,102 sales. Notice also the Subaru Levorg receding back to #14.

Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Japan October 2014. Picture courtesy of j-sd.netToyota Land Cruier 70 the heritageToyota Land Cruiser 70

The Toyota Land Cruiser makes a second appearance in the Top 30 this year after last April at #30 with 1,621 sales, it’s also the 2nd time it ranks at this level since BSCB has started following the monthly Japanese ranking a decade ago! This figure includes the Land Cruiser Prado, 200, but also the 70 Series which had not been sold in Japan since 2004. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the nameplate, it was re-released with much fanfare here on August 25 and will only be available as a special edition for one year – hence the increase in overall Land Cruiser sales. Finally, let’s mention an oversight by Lexus last month: the NX crossover sold 2,394 units in September which if included would have put it at #27 the model ranking, and would have been the brand’s first appearance in the Top 30 since November 2011 when the Lexus CT ranked #30.

Previous month: Japan September 2014: New Mazda Demio starts its climb

One year ago: Japan October 2013: Honda Fit #1 for the first time in 29 months

Full October 2014 Top 30 Passenger Cars, Top 33 Kei cars, All-brands (Kei and PC) Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Japan

World September 2014: Toyota sells 7 millionth hybrid vehicle

October 27th, 2014 1 comment

Toyota Prius 19977 million units later… (1997 Toyota Prius)

Toyota confirmed it sold its 7 millionth hybrid vehicle worldwide in September, 17 years after first launching the Prius in Japan in 1997. The total includes 3.3 million sold in Japan, 2.5 million in the United States, 770,000 in Europe and more than 67,000 in Australia. The latest one-million sales were achieved in record time – just nine months after Toyota (including Lexus) reached the six-million hybrid threshold in December last year, which doubled the three million total passed in February 2011.

Globally, Prius accounts for almost half the overall total with 3.36 million sales – making it the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle. TMC estimates its hybrid vehicles have cut carbon-dioxide emissions by approximately 49 million tonnes and saved approximately 18 million kilo-litres of fuel compared with vehicles of similar size and driving performance using petrol-only engines. (Number of registered vehicles × distance travelled × fuel efficiency (actual fuel efficiency in each country) × CO2 conversion factor. Fuel consumption varies depending on driving conditions / style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories.) Next year, Toyota will start selling its first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid vehicle in Japan, Europe and the United States.

See Toyota’s hybrid vehicle chronology below.

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Categories: Japan, World

Japan September 2014: New Mazda Demio starts its climb

October 11th, 2014 No comments

Mazda Demio Japan September 2014. Picture courtesy of autocar.jpMazda Demio

* See the Top 30 models and Top 13 local brands by clicking on the title! Thanks Stephen *

The Japanese new car market is down 3% year-on-year in September to 315.326 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 2.578.420 units, up 4.5% on 2013. Model-wise, the Toyota Aqua remains on top in spite of sales down 24% on September 2013 to 20,255 units, ahead of the Honda Fit (-8%), Toyota Prius (-34%), Voxy (+222%) and Honda Vezel, once again very impressive inside the Top 5 at 10,603 sales. Both the Nissan Serena and new X-Trail gain 4 spots to #8 and #14 respectively. This knocks the all-new Subaru Levorg down to #9 but at its highest monthly volume since its debut with 7,800 units. Starting its climb up the charts the new generation Mazda Demio, which went on sale only a couple weeks ago on September 25: up 7 places to #18, its highest ranking sincelast October and it will surely not stop there.

Previous month: Japan August 2014: Subaru Levorg breaks into Top 10

One year ago: Japan September 2013: New gen pushes Honda Fit back up to #3

Full September 2014 Top 30 models and Top 13 brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Japan

Japan Kei cars September 2014: Daihatsu Tanto up 88%

October 11th, 2014 No comments

Daihatsu Tanto Japan September 2014. Picture courtesy of cliccar.comDaihatsu Tanto

* See the Top 33 All-models and Top 8 All-brands by clicking on the title! Thanks Stephen *

After losing ground for two months, sales of new Kei cars in Japan are back in positive in September: up 2.5% to 203.448 registrations and bringing the year-to-date total to 1,739.893 units, up 8% on 2013. The Daihatsu Tanto is the best-selling vehicle in Japan (all categories) thanks to sales up 88% to 20,554 units. After months of settling for #3 or #4 the Honda N-BOX returns to the #2 spot it hasn’t held since March. The Nissan Dayz stays at #3 while the Suzuki WagonR falls two places to #4. Two recent newcomers swap places as the Honda N-WGN takes #5 from the Suzuki Hustler which comes in at #6.

Previous month: Japan Kei cars August 2014: Suzuki Hustler in Top 5 again

One year ago: Japan Kei cars September 2013: Honda N-Box confirms supremacy

Full September 2014 Top 33 All-models and Top 8 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Japan

Japan Imports Q3 2014: Mercedes C-Class up to third place

October 10th, 2014 1 comment

Mercedes C Class Japan September 2014. Picture courtesy of response.jpMercedes C-Class

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks Stephen *

Potentially the sign of a longer-term recovery, sales of imported cars in Japan are up year-on-year for the first time since the April 2014 tax hike at +3% in September to 32.810 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 213.535 units, up 5% on 2013. In the models ranking, the VW Golf remains on top for the third quarter in spite of sales down 5% year-on-year to 5.981 and adding up to 23.807 so far in 2014 (#26 overall). Mini stays in second place with 4.331 units (+6%), this includes Countryman and Paceman sales. The big changes comes in third position: ousting the BMW 3 Series from the podium, the Mercedes C-Class is up 3 spots on last quarter and 43% year-on-year to #3 and 4.138 sales as the new model went on sale in Japan on July 7.

Mercedes GLA Japan September 2014. Picture courtesy of response.jpMercedes GLA

Another Mercedes makes its debut in the ranking directly at #11: the all-new GLA class which went on sale at the end of May and misses out on a Top 10 spot for just 16 units at 1.761 sales in 3 months. This means Mercedes places an astounding 5 models inside the Top 11 alongside the E-Class (#7), A-Class (#9) and S-Class (#10). Notice also the BMW 4 Series up two ranks on last quarter to #18 with 1.162 units.

Previous post: Japan Imports Q2 2014: Sedan pushes Audi A3 up to 5th place

One year ago: Japan Imports Q3 2013: Mercedes A, CLA-Class and Volvo V40 shine

Full Q3 2014 Top 20 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Japan

Japan August 2014: Subaru Levorg breaks into Top 10

September 8th, 2014 No comments

Subaru Levorg Japan August 2014. Picture courtesy of Response.jpSubaru Levorg

* See the Top 30 models and Top 13 local brands by clicking on the title! Thanks Stephen *

New regular car sales are down 5% year-on-year in Japan in August to reach their lowest monthly volume since the Tohoku earthquake of March 2011 at 206,606 registrations. The year-to-date total resists though, still up 6% on 2013 to 2,263,094 units. Whereas the long-term influences on this decline surely relate to the April tax increase and perhaps the broader contracting GDP of Japan, BSCB’s local antenna Stephen also sees a shorter-term weather factor for August: Western Japan was hit by a super typhoon at the beginning of the month followed by record rainfall a couple weeks later that triggered fatal mudslides in Hiroshima, disrupting usual business. Add to this that August is typically the worst month for auto sales because of the Obon when many people travel to there hometown to honor their ancestors and visit family and we have a perfect storm which is actually not that harsh: all this factors put together could have ended in a much steeper decline.

Honda Vezel Japan August 2014Honda Vezel

In the brands ranking, Honda continues to evolve at stratospheric heights: up 57% for the month and 61% year-to-date, now frankly above Nissan at 14.4% share vs. 12.4% with Toyota completely unattainable at 43.2% share. Model-wise, the Toyota Aqua remains on top, with the Honda Fit overtaking the Toyota Prius to reclaim the #2 spot it holds year-to-date. The new generation Toyota Voxy holds very well at #4 (+215%) while the Honda Vezel climbs one rank back to #5 and now stands at #7 for the year. It seems that the Vezel is affecting Fit sales more than the Aqua has been affected by the introduction of the Corolla hybrids. The all new Subaru Levorg rises slightly to break into the monthly Top 10 for the first time at #8 thanks to 5,391 sales.

One year ago: 

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Categories: Japan

Japan Kei cars August 2014: Suzuki Hustler in Top 5 again

September 8th, 2014 No comments

Suzuki Hustler Japan August 2014. Picture courtesy of webcg.comSuzuki Hustler

* See the Top 33 models and Top 8 brands by clicking on the title! Thanks Stephen*

Sales of new Kei cars in Japan are down a harsh 15% year-on-year in August to 126,865 registrations, however the year-to-date total is still up by a healthy 9% on 2013 to 1,536,446 units. There are a few explanations to this steep fall: first the recent tax increase that pushes car prices up, but also some specific circumstances this month: Western Japan was hit by a super typhoon at the beginning of the month followed by record rainfall a couple weeks later that triggered fatal mudslides in Hiroshima and disrupted business, especially for kei cars as they are especially popular in these regions. The Daihatsu Tanto holds onto the top spot, completely bucking the trend with sales up 43% on August 2013 to 11,979 units, while the Suzuki Wagon R is back up 4 spots to #2, kicking the Nissan Dayz down to #3. Below the Honda N-BOX down 44% in 4th place, the Suzuki Hustler lodges another very impressive month at #5, missing the 10,000 monthly sales-mark for just 100 units and helping lift Suzuki to #1 Kei car brand once again at 42,923 sales and 33.8% vs. 35,454 and 27.9% for Daihatsu. Suzuki now trails Daihatsu by less than 6,000 units year-to-date and should overtake it to become #1 next month at the current rate.

Previous month: Japan Kei cars July 2014: Suzuki Hustler hits records

One year ago: Japan Kei cars August 2013: Honda N-Box back to pole position

Full August 2014 Top 33 All-models and Top 8 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Japan