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Japan First Half 2016: Mitsubishi victim of fuel economy scandal

Mitsubishi eK Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy response.jpMitsubishi sales drop 14% so far in 2016 at home, helping pull the market down. 

* See the Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei and Top 20 foreigners by clicking on the title *

Halfway through 2016, the Japanese new light vehicle market is down for the 2nd consecutive year at -5% to 2.547.345 units, single-handedly pulled down by kei cars at -13% to 1.045.456 sales whereas regular cars are up 0.7% to 1.641.875 including 170.366 imports (+2%). Kei sales were hurt by a high comparison level in 2015 when buyers rushed to purchase before a tax hike in April, but also the fuel economy rating scandal that has led to the halting of Mitsubishi eK and Nissan Dayz and Nissan potentially taking controlling stake in Mitsubishi. Market leader Toyota however withheld the storm beautifully with volumes up 2% to 757.165, improving its already overwhelming market share by two percentage points to 29.7%.

Toyota Prius Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy Toyota Prius returns to the Japanese pole position it held from 2009 to 2012.

It is one of only two manufacturers gaining ground in the Top 10 along with Isuzu at #9 (+3%). All other actors fall: Mazda (-22%) is hit the hardest just as its entire lineup is ageing and the CX-3 is now out of it honeymoon period with customers. Nissan and Mitsubishi are both equally penalised by the fuel economy scandal (-14%), Subaru drops 10%, Daihatsu is down 8%, Honda down 6% and Suzuki down 3%. Lexus (+26%) is the only Japanese brand to really take off over the period. Mercedes remains the #1 foreign marque in the country despite sales down 1% to 32.241. That’s a much better hold than Volkswagen (-15%), threatened for 2nd spot by BMW (+9%). Peugeot (+22%), Jeep (+25%), Fiat (+29%), Jaguar (+163%) and Smart (+1773%) impress.

Toyota Sienta Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy yahoo.jpThe Toyota Sienta is up 9-fold to third place overall. 

Model-wise, thanks to the new generation the Toyota Prius has resumed the iron-fist domination of its home market that was the norm from 2009 to 2012 before the arrival of the Aqua. The Prius doubles its sales compared to the previous gen a year ago (+100% exactly) to snap almost 143.000 deliveries, distancing the Aqua just under 90.000 (-26%). Toyota monopolises the podium with the Sienta up 9-fold on last year here too thanks to a new model at a little over 61.000 sales. The Honda Fit (-13%), Nissan Note (-5%), Toyota Voxy (-1%) and Corolla (-20%) follow but all lose ground. The Nissan X-Trail (+11%), Toyota Passo (+23%), Honda StepWGN (+19%) and Suzuki Solio (+47%) all post double-digit gains while the Honda Shuttle (+172%), Odyssey (+198%), Subaru Forester (+145%) and Toyota Land Cruiser (+141%) take off. The Suzuki Ignis lands at #27.

Mercedes GLC Japan June 2016. Picture courtesy autoc-one.jpMercedes is the #1 foreign brand in Japan, the GLC lands at #15. 

Over in the kei cars aisle, the Honda N-BOX holds the fort despite a 10% drop, ahead of the Daihatsu Tanto up 2% and one only three nameplates gaining ground year-on-year along with the Toyota Pixis (+12%) and Honda S660(+83%). The Suzuki Alto (-8%), Nissan Dayz (-41%) and Honda N-WGN (-16%) round up the Top 5 and the Daihatsu Cast is the only newcomer in these troubled times, landing at #11 with 39.193 sales. The VW Golf remains the best-selling foreigner in Japan despite a 14% year-on-year drop but is now under pressure from the Mini (all versions) up 14% and #1 over Q2. The Mercedes C-Class (-26%), BMW 3 Series (-9%) and VW Polo (-21%) round up the Top 5 but freefall, while the BMW 2 Series (+54%), Mercedes CLA (+61%), VW Passat (#12), BMW X1 (#14) and Mercedes GLC, landing directly at #15, all impress.

Previous post: Japan June 2016: Nissan, Mazda & Mitsubishi pull market down

One year ago: Japan First Half 2015: Mercedes impressive in market down 11%

Full H1 2016 Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 30 kei and Top 20 foreigners below.

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