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Japan April 2016: Mitsubishi scandal reshapes local auto industry

Mitsubishi logoThe Mitsubishi fuel economy scandal is already reshaping the Japanese and worldwide auto industry. 

* See the Top 30 best-selling cars, Top 30 kei car & Top 55 brands by clicking on the title *

This post was created in collaboration with Stephen Bloom.

The Japanese market begins to show some signs of recovery just in time for the start of a new fiscal year. April’s monthly sales are up 1.6% from last year to 324.717 units, meaning the year-to-date total is now down 5.5% to 1.794.851 deliveries. Regular vehicles are up 7.2% to 212.683 registrations and imports improve 6% to 16.071. The kei car segment that was hit this time last year with a tax increase was anticipated to contribute significantly to this month’s growth, but just the opposite was true on account of a scandal that is reshaping the Japanese auto industry. In the wake of last year’s scandal at Volkswagen, Mitsubishi admitted last month to manipulating fuel economy test data for 25 years which led to a massive devaluation of the company and a $2 billion buyout by Nissan.

Ironically, it was Nissan that discovered the discrepancies earlier this year between Mitsubishi’s and actual fuel consumption data of four kei models produced by the two company’s joint venture, NMKV. The scandal resulted in a stop-sale of the affected models and quickly escalated as news broke of the company submitting manipulated data since 1991 and culminated with Nissan acquiring a controlling stake of Mitsubishi. This new control by Renault-Nissan will have implications not only in Japan, but on the global automotive market also.

Nissan Dayz Japan April 2016The Nissan Dayz and its twin the Mitsubishi eK are under a stop-sale order in Japan 

As a result of the halt to sales of the popular Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK, it is only fitting to start with the kei car market this month. Overall sales in the segment fall by 7.5% to 112.034 units with Nissan and Mitsubishi’s kei car sales dropping by 51% and 45% respectively. The top four models all post double-digit gains over last April when the tax increase for kei car taxes dampened sales. At the top of the chart the Honda N-BOX adds another 11.691 units to extend its lead over the Daihatsu Tanto which places again at #2. Suzuki takes the next four spots on the chart starting with the Alto at #3, followed by the Spacia climbing 7 places to #4, Hustler, and WagonR. Sales of the Mitsubishi-made Nissan Dayz decreased 67% following a stop-sale causing it to fall eight places to #11 in the wake of the fuel economy scandal. Its cousin, the Mitsubishi eK, drops by 64% to #19. Sales of both models, including the Dayz Roox and eK Space wagon versions, have not yet resumed.

Suzuki Ignis Japan April 2016. Picture courtesy antenna.jp

The new Toyota Prius remains the champ of the regular car chart with sales up 137% to 20.770. The Toyota Aqua stays in second place while the new Sienta reclaims the #3 spot from the Honda Fit and even leads in year to date totals aided by the new model’s sales up 953% over last year. Also boosted by a new generation is the Toyota Passo which is up 33%, climbing eleven spots to #10. And finally making its debut on the chart this month, the new Suzuki Ignis comes in at #21 having sold 7.633 units since its February launch, including 2.778 in April alone.

Previous month: Japan March 2016: Kei cars pull market down 9%, Toyota Prius reigns

One year ago: Japan April 2015: Toyota Esquire and Honda StepWGN shine

Full April 2016 Top 30 cars, Top 30 kei cars and Top 55 All-brands below.

Japan April 2016 – passenger cars:

PosModelApr-16/20152016 YTD20162015
1Toyota Prius20,770137%92,25012
2Toyota Aqua13,099-16%63,14321
3Toyota Sienta9,639953%40,651310
4Honda Fit7,116-15%39,96543
5Toyota Corolla6,336-14%30,09574
6Toyota Voxy5,990-2%31,14866
7Toyota Vitz5,9686%25,65697
8Nissan Note5,544-3%37,36355
9Honda Vezel4,63539%26,22389
10Toyota Passo4,02033%15,4891818
11Suzuki Solio3,74994%16,6561523
12Toyota Noah3,59032%17,9711416
13Mazda Demio3,504-21%23,746118
14Nissan Serena3,411-0%23,2831211
15Toyota Esquire3,308-56%16,2031612
16Honda StepWGN3,214-20%20,6631317
17Toyota Crown3,1262%15,2082020
18Toyota Vellfire3,009-41%15,1952115
19Nissan X-Trail2,94725%24,2981014
20Honda Odyssey2,800171%11,47326n/a
21Suzuki Ignis2,778Feb-167,633n/an/a
22Honda Shuttle2,674May-1515,8561724
23Subaru Impreza2,66821%15,3221921
24Toyota Harrier2,528-38%13,9562213
25Toyota Alphard2,392-38%12,1462419
26Honda Freed2,3395%13,3262322
27Subaru Forester1,84692%11,91425n/a
28Toyota Spade1,653-12%8,093n/a28
29Subaru Levorg1,561-26%7,722n/a27
30Toyota Land Cruiser1,33518%9,057n/an/a

Japan April 2016 – kei cars:

PosModelApr-16/20152016 YTD20162015
1Honda N-BOX11,69114%68,88411
2Daihatsu Tanto10,99637%65,73822
3Suzuki Alto8,07510%40,70445
4Suzuki Spacia6,83813%29,2061010
5Suzuki Hustler6,681-33%33,20368
6Suzuki WagonR5,541-26%32,86676
7Honda N-WGN5,35627%33,24957
8Daihatsu Mira4,789-23%28,113119
9Daihatsu Move4,622-44%29,87194
10Daihatsu Cast4,492Sep-1530,023813
11Nissan Dayz2,453-67%51,37033
12Daihatsu Wake1,667-44%11,1021311
13Suzuki Every Wagon1,397-22%6,1631618
14Toyota Pixis1,38041%6,8301416
15Honda N-ONE1,153-14%6,5741514
16Suzuki Jimny1,02122%4,8451819
17Honda S660930-34%4,1902020
18Subaru Stella741-31%4,4461917
19Mitsubishi eK616-64%16,2601212
20Daihatsu Copen568-7%2,2392624
21Mazda Flair53416%3,1512121
22Nissan Moco504-58%5,4761715
23Mazda Flair Wagon45718%3,0692222
24Mazda Carol440-16%2,5592423
25Subaru Pleo428-8%2,5522525
26Mazda Flair Crossover35312%2,8252326
27Daihatsu Atrai Wagon27415%1,6812728
28Nissan NV100 Clipper Rio228-26%1,1162930
29Honda Vamos221-27%1,4172829
30Mazda Scrum Wagon95-31%5683131
31Mitsubishi Town Box585%2763232
32Suzuki MR Wagon38-95%7803027
33Subaru Dias Wagon363%2133333
34Mitsubishi i-MiEV6-68%863434

Japan April 2016 – brands:

PosBrandApr-16%/15Mar2016%/15PosFY15
1Toyota110,19033.9%9%1513,46128.6%-1%11
2Suzuki48,22314.9%-3%3230,52012.8%-3%33
3Honda45,32214.0%9%2260,62314.5%-7%22
4Daihatsu37,75011.6%4%5217,73012.1%-9%44
5Nissan25,6187.9%-22%4215,54412.0%-10%55
6Mazda12,1763.7%-23%681,0754.5%-17%66
7Subaru10,1363.1%6%757,6383.2%-16%77
8Lexus4,5101.4%52%1220,8841.2%36%1213
9Isuzu4,1541.3%12%925,7671.4%-1%99
10Hino3,6811.1%20%1021,2821.2%0%1011
11Mitsubishi3,5871.1%-15%839,1942.2%-2%88
12Mercedes3,5561.1%12%1121,2221.2%-4%1110
13BMW2,6320.8%10%1315,4850.9%8%1414
14Mitsubishi Fuso2,6200.8%4%1514,7020.8%0%1515
15Volkswagen2,3460.7%-8%1415,9370.9%-23%1312
16Audi1,7540.5%9%168,4950.5%-15%1616
17Mini1,3610.4%1%177,3710.4%8%1717
18Volvo7430.2%14%184,5060.3%10%1818
19UD Trucks6700.2%1%193,3810.2%-10%1919
20Jeep5360.2%68%212,6610.1%16%2020
21Porsche5280.2%-12%242,0940.1%2%2321
22Fiat4270.1%25%222,3190.1%32%2222
23Peugeot3760.1%42%202,4120.1%33%2123
24Smart2330.1%1842%251,5920.1%1841%2532
25Land Rover2140.1%-4%261,1940.1%12%2626
26Renault1770.1%-30%231,7290.1%-11%2424
27Ford1640.1%-54%279400.1%-42%2725
28Jaguar1470.0%158%288370.0%145%2831
29Abarth1400.0%57%325110.0%21%3129
30Alfa Romeo880.0%-52%296290.0%-30%2927
31DS880.0%100%313910.0%31%3233
32Maserati810.0%-11%333710.0%-8%3330
33Citroen740.0%-33%305730.0%-6%3028
34Ferrari600.0%-33%371880.0%-27%3536
35Cadillac490.0%-22%342470.0%-17%3434
36Chevrolet440.0%-24%351810.0%-42%3635
37Bentley360.0%57%401220.0%11%3938
38Lamborghini350.0%-17%381250.0%7%3839
39Dodge340.0%26%42940.0%-7%4141
40Alpina320.0%28%391470.0%20%3740
41Chrysler200.0%-35%361200.0%-40%4037
42McLaren160.0%167%46450.0%61%4645
43Lotus150.0%-50%41850.0%-30%4242
44Aston Martin140.0%-13%44620.0%22%4343
45Rolls-Royce100.0%-33%43560.0%-2%4444
46Scania80.0%n/a45400.0%233%4748
47Hyundai50.0%400%47500.0%138%4546
48GMC40.0%33%48110.0%-31%4847
49Lancia20.0%0%5260.0%-33%5050
50Pontiac20.0%0%20.0%-67%5552
51Rover10.0%-67%4980.0%-33%4949
52Hummer10.0%-67%5050.0%-38%5151
53Buick10.0%0%5130.0%0%5255
54MG10.0%0%30.0%50%5454
55Morgan10.0%0%10.0%-80%5853

Source: JADA, JMVA, JAIA

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