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Japan 1st Half 2015: Mercedes impressive in market down 11%

Mercedes C Class Japan June 2015. Picture courtesy aolcdn.comMercedes sales are up 19% year-on-year in Japan, earning it a spot in the Top 10.

* See the Top 60 brands, Top 30 regular cars, Top 30 kei cars and Top 20 imports by clicking on the title *

The Japanese new car market is suffering in this First Half of 2015: down 11% to 2.676.634 registrations. To the aftermath of 2014 record sales due to an impending tax increase for regular cars (-8%) now need to be added a kei car tax hike that got implemented on April 1 and put a significant dent into that segment (-15%). Only foreign brands are in positive territory so far this year, but just: up 0.5% to 144.639 sales. Brand-wise, Toyota (-9%) manages to improve its market share to 27.7% whereas Honda (-18%), Suzuki (-16%), Daihatsu (-13%) and Nissan (-16%) are all sharply affected by declining kei sales. Mazda spectacularly bucks the trend at +14% but remains discreet under 5% share, while Mercedes is the hero of the year in Japan with sales up 19% to break into the Top 10 most popular brands, overtaking Volkswagen (-17%) for the title of best-selling foreign carmaker in Japan. Further down, notice Mini up 33%, Porsche up 31% and Renault up 14%.

Toyota Aqua X-URBAN Japan June 2015. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpThe Toyota Aqua is now the best-selling vehicle in Japan.

It’s amazing what a year can do: under intense threat from the Honda Fit exactly one year ago, the Toyota Aqua now has absolutely no rivals in the regular cars ranking (and in any ranking for this matter): thanks to a late 2014 facelift and the addition of a crossover-style variant (the X-URBAN), its sales are down just 2% year-on-year to 121.240 which is 70% above the next best-selling nameplate in the country: the Toyota Prius (-31%), while the Honda Fit is in freefalling mode (-45%). Nice hold for the Nissan Note (-9%) overtaking the Toyota Corolla (-16%) although the latter’s facelift has boosted it back up to #2 in both May and June, so it should climb up the ladder between now and the end of 2015.

Mazda Demio Japan June 2015. Picture courtesy autoc-one-jpMazda Demio

The Mazda Demio is enjoying a totally new life thanks to the new generation boosting it up 144% year-on-year to #7, the Toyota Esquire is the most popular all-new nameplate in the country, landing at a stunning 10th place with 36.566 sales and accompanied in the Top 30 with the Mazda CX-3 (#23) and Honda Grace (#27). The Toyota Harrier is up 8% to #12, the Toyota Vellfire up 29% to #13, the Toyota Alphard up 39% to #21 and the Subaru Levorg up 6-fold on a year ago – it launched in May 2014 – to #24. I give you the rankings for now, complete analysis will follow shortly.

Daihatsu Wake Honda N-BOX Suzuki Hustler Japan June 2015. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpNot the best timing for a kei car launch but the Daihatsu Wake lands at #11. Behind it: the #1 kei best-seller the Honda N-BOX and the Suzuki Hustler, 2014’s most popular kei car launch.

Over on the kei cars charts, the Honda N-BOX reclaims the pole position it held over the Full Year 2013 off the Daihatsu Tanto thanks to sales up 11% to 106.985 units vs. -35% and 87.602 for the Tanto, now only a couple hundreds units above the Nissan Dayz at 87.404 (-12%). The Daihatsu Move is up two spots on a year ago to #4, the Suzuki Alto up 4 ranks and 5% to #5, the Suzuki Hustler up 37% to #8 and the Daihatsu Wake makes a splash at #11 and 34.773 deliveries.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Japan June 2015. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpBMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Among foreign models, the VW Golf remains in pole position despite sales down 21% to 14.140 units which would still earn it a spot in the Top 30 cars. The Mercedes C-Class jumps a spectacular 115% to 2nd place while the Mini is up a strong 33% to #3 and the VW Polo is up 16% to #4. Other great foreign performers in Japan over the period include the Audi A3 up 17%, BMW 2 Series leaping up to 8th place overall with 3.394 sales, the Mercedes GLA landing directly at #11, the Mercedes CLA up 50% to #15 and the BMW 4 Series pointing its bonnet at #20.

Previous month: Japan June 2015: Facelifted Toyota Corolla confirms #2 spot

Q1 2015 update: Japan 1st Quarter 2014: Demio and CX-3 keep Mazda up, market down 14%

FY 2014 updates:

Japan Full Year 2014: Kei cars surge, Daihatsu Tanto outsells Toyota Aqua

Japan Full Year 2014: Now with exclusive Top 189 All-local models

One year ago: Japan June 2014: Toyota Aqua back to #1, Honda Vezel up to #4

One year ago (kei): Japan kei cars June 2014: Daihatsu Tanto leads, Copen returns

One year ago (imports): Japan Imports Q2 2014: Sedan pushes Audi A3 up to 5th place

Full H1 2015 Top 60 brands, Top 30 regular cars, Top 30 kei cars and Top 20 imports vs. Full H1 2014 figures below.

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