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.
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.
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.