* Click on title to see the Top 65 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei cars & Top 20 imports *
This report was created in collaboration with Stephen Bloom.
After rebounding a little last month the Japanese market hit a bump in September with sales of new vehicles down 8% year-on-year to 479,375 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 3,908,150 units, down 10% from 2014. The kei segment continues to be the biggest factor with sales down 15% to 173,573 units after the tax increase earlier this year wheras regular cars are down only 3% to 305,802 units. For the first time since March foreign brands are also in the red, down 2% to 32,304 units potentially due to diesel-connected Volkswagen weakness (-9%). Mazda (+16%), who has been spearheading clean diesel technology in Japan as an alternative to the hybrid technology, came out after the news to reaffirm that it abides with emissions regulations. Other domestic automakers were down this month with Subaru (-24%), Suzuki (-16%), Honda (-14%), and Daihatsu (-12%) posting the biggest losses.
In the regular models ranking, Toyota holds the top four positions led again by the Aqua at #1 with 18,345 units. In its second month at #2 the new Sienta is up an whopping 729% on the previous model a year ago to 11,277 and sets a record for monthly volume, smashing its previous best of 7.736 established just last month. The Nissan X-Trail climbs 6 places this month to re-enter the top ten with 6,944 units, and the Honda Shuttle sees its best month since losing the Fit branding selling 6,273 units.
Despite losing some of their tax advantage over regular cars, the kei segment remains incredibly popular with three models outselling all but the Toyota Aqua. The Honda N-BOX (+2%) leads the chart again, followed by the Nissan Dayz (-16%) who edges out last month’s #2 the Daihatsu Tanto (-33%) by just 6 units. Daihatsu can’t complain though as its newest model, the Cast, debuts solidly at #11 with 6,698 units after going on sale on September 9. Daihatsu is aiming the Cast at the popular kei-SUV segment that has been dominated by the Suzuki Hustler so far.
The recent damage to Volkswagen’s reputation happened too late to weaken the Golf, remaining Japan’s bestselling foreign model and up 14% this quarter to 6,767 units. The Mercedes C-Class (+30%) retakes the #2 spot from Mini (+10%). Mercedes continues to lead in monthly and YTD sales thanks in particular to the CLA-Class which is up 156% to 2,884 units. Entering the chart at #15 is the VW Passat whose eighth generation went on sale in Japan this summer.
Previous month: Japan August 2015: Toyota Sienta improves 8-fold to #2 overall
One year ago (cars): Japan September 2014: New Mazda Demio starts its climb
One year ago (kei): Japan Kei cars September 2014: Daihatsu Tanto improves 88%