* See the Top 30 best-selling cars, kei cars and Top 54 All-brands by clicking on the title *
Analysis written in cooperation with Stephen Bloom
February sales remain well below last year’s pre-tax increase level, but they were a bit better than January. Overall sales are down 15% to 482,103 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 883,469 units, down 17% on 2014. Kei sales are down 15% from last year, and foreign models down 11%. The Top 9 brands are unchanged on last month, with Toyota (-18%), Honda (-17%), Nissan (-21%), Daihatsu (-9%) and Suzuki (-13%) in the lead. Subaru (+1%) and Isuzu (+15%) are the only manufacturers in the Top 10 to increase their sales year-on-year. Further down, Mini (+28%), Jeep (+25%), Jaguar (+21%), Cadillac (+13%), Renault (+10%) and Mercedes (+4%) also progress.
In the models ranking, the recently refreshed Toyota Aqua stays at #1 with 22,788 units. This is the first time in 5 months that its monthly volume has been above 20,000. The Toyota Prius swaps spots with Honda Fit yet again, but the real news this month comes from further down the chart. The new generation manga-inspired Toyota Vellfire and Alphard reappear at #15 and #25 after going on sale the end of January.
We also welcome two all-new models to the chart this month: the Honda Jade lands at #27 with 2,789 sales after debuting in China late 2013. The Jade is replacing the discontinued Stream in Honda’s lineup and is being relased as a hybrid only with the gasoline version to go on sale later this year. For perhaps the first time ever this gives Honda 6 models in the Top 30 this month. Also making its debut this month is the Mazda CX-3, released as a clean-diesel only since this has accounted for 80% of big brother CX-5’s sales. The CX-3 lands at #29 with 2,506 sales vs. #21 and 3,393 (-25%) for the CX-5 but expect it to climb the ladder fast over the coming months.
The new generation Subaru Legacy maintains itself inside the Top 30 thanks to sales up 118% year-on-year despite the discontinuation of the Touring Wagon version. It seems consumers perferring a wagon a bit bigger and more luxurious than the Levorg have been moving over to the Outback crossover. Outback sales have been accounting for approximately 70% of Legacy sales since the new model was released in late October.
The kei chart doesn’t see quite as much activity. The Honda N-BOX stays at #1 since the launch of its new Slash variant. The N/ accounts for about 12% of N-BOX sales with 1,811 sold in December and 2,317 in January, but this has so far been enough to stay in the lead. The Nissan Dayz remains at #2 though this is somewhat misleading as it includes both the regular wagon version and the taller Roox which other manufacturers tally as two separate nameplates, for example N-WGN and N-BOX. Nevertheless this is still quite an achievement in a segment that until recently has been dominated by two manufacturers but is now a four horse race. The new generation Daihatsu Move drops to #4 below last year’s champion Tanto. The new Suzuki Alto also drops one place while its rebadge, the Mazda Carol, climbs 7 after going on sale a month after its OEM cousin.
Previous month: Japan January 2015: Toyota Aqua triumphs thanks to facelift
One year ago (regular cars): Japan February 2014: Toyota Aqua #1, Voxy and Noah shoot up
One year ago (kei cars): Japan Kei cars February 2014: Nissan Dayz above 20,000 units
Full February 2015 Top 30 models & kei cars and Top 54 All-brands below.