* See the Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 regular vehicles, Top 35 kei cars & Top 20 imports *
The first quarter of 2014 saw record sales in Japan due to an impending tax increase, so the 2015 market is not a pretty sight for now: down 14% to 1.578.879 registrations, split between 863.182 regular domestic vehicles (-15%), 635.336 kei cars (-14%) and 80.361 foreign models (-9%). The Top 3 brands fare worse than the market and therefore lose share: Toyota is down 17% to 26.4%, Honda down 20% to 15.1% and Nissan down 19% to 13.1%, now threatened for the last spot on the podium by Daihatsu down 9% to 12.9%. Suuzki rounds up the Top 5 at 11.9% share. Mazda (+0.2%), Isuzu (+2%) and Hino (+3%) are the only domestic brands to gain ground on 2014.
Over of the foreign marques, Mercedes has just managed a coup d’état: it overtakes fellow German manufacturer Volkswagen thanks to sales up 6% to 18,827 units vs. 18.024 for VW (-22%). Mini (+29%), Renault (+13%), Jeep (+6%) and Porsche (+2%) also shine while Abarth (#29) and DS (#33) are new this year.
In difficulty a year ago and under pressure from the Honda Fit, the Toyota Aqua suddenly takes an almost insurmountable advantage over its competitors in the models ranking thanks to a major facelift in December and the addition of the crossover-styled X-URBAN model: down just 6% to 73,170 deliveries, well above the Toyota Prius (-40%) and Honda Fit (-47%). The Mazda Demio is the best performer in the Top 30 by far thank to the new model: up 116% to #5.
The Toyota Voxy (#6), Honda Vezel (#8), Toyota Harrier (#11) and Subaru Legacy (#29) are the only nameplates in progression year-on-year in a Top 30 that welcome a whopping four all-new models: the Toyota Esquire is the most popular at #14, followed by the Subaru Levorg (#20), Honda Grace (#23) and Mazda CX-3 (#27), replacing the CX-5 in the Top 30.
Among Kei cars, the Honda N-BOX reclaims a pole position it last held over FY2013 thanks to the addition of its ‘coupe’ variant the N/and sales up 15% to 69.499, above the Nissan Dayz (-3%), Daihatsu Tanto (-26%) and Daihatsu Move (-5%). The Suzuki Alto is up 23% to #6, the über-cute Suzuki Histler up 54% to #9 and the Daihatsu Wake lands at #11 with 22.796 units. Finally, the Daihatsu Copen (#24) and Honda S660 (#34) bring back the sport in kei this year…
In the foreign models charts, the Mercedes C-Class is the big winner, doubling its sales from a year ago to #2 overall below only the VW Golf (-30%). The Mini (+29%), VW Polo (+22%) and Audi A3 (+13%) also post very solid increases, all inside the Top 6. We welcome two new nameplates inside the Top 8: a brilliant start for both the Mercedes GLA (#7) and BMW 2 Series (#8). All other models in the Top 20 are down on 2014.
Full Q1 2015 Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 regular vehicles, Top 35 kei cars & Top 20 imports vs. Full Q1 2014 figures below.