The effect on car sales of the quake and tsunami that devastated the country is now tangible: the Japanese car market dropped 37% in March at 279,389 units. This is the highest year-on-year fall for Nippon car sales since the -55% of May 1974 during the oil-supply crunch. While some dealerships are damaged in the northeast of the country, a lot of dealers in some central areas cannot run showrooms properly because of continued power blackouts.
In this context, auto industry analysts expect sales to fall a further 50% or more in April…
Now to the models ranking. Boosted by the new hybrid version, the Honda Fit takes the top spot for the 2nd time in the last 3 months with 22,284 units and only -3%. It even takes the lead in the 2011 year-to-date ranking at 54,033 registrations! The Toyota Prius is a distant #2 in March at 19,702 sales (-45%) and YTD at 52,523 units.
The next three models stay unchanged and fall slower than the market: the Toyota Vitz at -13%, Nissan Serena at -10% and Honda Freed at -17%. Only two cars in the Top 30 actually see their sales improve: the Nissan March is up 5 spots at #7 (+5%) and the Nissan Elgrand is #30 at +47%.
The Lexus CT200h, launched last December, appears in the Top 30 for the first time at #26 with 2,460 sales.
Full Top 30 Ranking Table below.