* See the Top 55 brands, 30 regular cars, Top 36 All-kei cars & Top 15 imports by clicking on the title *
Analysis written in cooperation with Stephen Bloom.
After dropping by 15% in February, March Japanese new car sales reduce their fall slightly at -11% overall to 695,411 registrations. Mazda is the only domestic manufacturer to post a year-over-year increase at 1%, with Toyota and Honda both down 15%, Daihatsu down 2%, Nissan down 18% and Suzuki down 7%. Regular cars are down 13%, kei cars are down 8% and foreign models down 6%.
In the regular model rankings, Toyota Aqua keeps its crown with 30,414 units, the first time in a year (since March 2014) that sales reached the 30,000 mark. The next 4 spots stay the same from last month, but the Honda Vezel up 23% jumps into #5. Mazda’s rival small crossover, the all-new CX-3, posts 5,503 units in its first full month climbing to #22. The new generation Vellfire is up 36% while its more conservatively styled twin Alphard is up 26% to #20. The Subaru Levorg is up 8 spots this month with 6,036 units, its second highest volume since debuting last spring.
Over on the kei chart, the Honda N-Box is March’s best-selling nameplate edging out Toyota Aqua by 219 units and 30,633 sales. This includes the new N-Box Slash version that debuted in December. All in all, sales of Honda’s “N” series kei cars have now topped 1 million units, solidifying the brand’s place in this unique Japanese market. After nearly two decades since the Honda Beat was last produced, the S660 officially goes on sale April 2 after the concept was shown at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, therefore the 19 units registered in March are likely dealer demos. Adding to the diversification of the kei segment, Suzuki released this month the Turbo RS version of its popular Alto lifting sales to 15,788.
As is the case every quarter, we have access to the top-selling foreign models with the perennial champ VW Golf keeping the top spot despite sales down 30% to 8,386 units. In #2 again is the new generation Mercedes C-Class up 103% with an all-time best quarter score of 7,082 units. The Mercedes GLA also had its best quarter so far since debuting in Japan last summer at #7 and 2,076 sales. The new BMW 2 Series is up 12 spots to #8 with 1,884 units. Further down the ranking both the Mercedes B-Class and Fiat 500 make their reappearance at #18 and #20 respectively.
Previous month: Japan February 2015: Honda Jade and Mazda CX-3 land
One year ago (Kei cars): Japan Kei cars March 2014: Daihatsu Tanto above 30,000 sales!
Full March 2014 Top 55 brands, Top 30 regular cars, Top 30 Kei cars and Q1 Top 15 imports below.