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Japan January 2019: Kei cars dominate models ranking, Suzuki Spacia and Nissan Serena strong

The Suzuki Spacia is up 38% year-on-year in January, partly thanks to the addition of the Gear variant (pictured).

New vehicle sales in Japan edge up 2.1% year-on-year in January to 407.975 units, yet strikingly the Top 4 brands all outpace the market, starting with local behemoth Toyota (+4.9%) leading to a paradoxically weak 27.4% share vs. 28.6% over the Full Year 2018. Honda (+8.7%), Suzuki (+8.2%) and Daihatsu (+3.1%) ensure the Top 4 is identical to December and FY2018, in actual fact the Top 6 but Nissan (-5.4%) and Mazda (-6.1%) both recede. t #7, Mitsubishi (+10.1%) is the only Top 15 carmaker posting a double-digit gain, whereas in contrast at #8 Subaru (-39.4%) endures the worst decline in the Top 40. Lexus (-9.2%) also markedly underperforms but returns inside the Top 10 at #9. Isuzu (+3.2%) and Hino (+4.8%) follow, meaning the most popular foreigner, Mercedes (+3.1%), is relegated to #12. Jaguar (+240.7%), Smart (+173.4%), Fiat (+28.8%), Land Rover (+93.7%), DS (+90.9%), Bentley (+41.2%), Cadillac (+37.5%), Citroen (+28.9%), Alfa Romeo (+26.6%), Volvo (+15.1%), BMW (+9.5%) and Mini (+8.4%) also make themselves noticed with very solid gains.

The Nissan Serena (+29.2%) ranks #2 in the regular car charts.

In the regular cars ranking, Nissan manages a stunning 1-2 with the Note (-8%) and Serena (+29.2%) the only nameplates with a five-digit sales figure for the month. The Toyota Aqua (+1.5%), Prius (-6%) and Sienta (+29.6%) round up the Top 5, with the Toyota Alphard (+112%), Corolla (+25.9%) and Honda Freed (+10.7%) also impressive in the Top 10. Further down, the Suzuki Jimny Sierra (+1624.4%) boosted by the new model, the Toyota Crown (+218.1%), Daihatsu Boon (+134.2%), Thor (+112%) and Mazda CX-5 (+61.7%) excel while the Honda Vezel (+33.5%) outsells its archenemy the Toyota C-HR (-21.2%) for the first time in the latter’s career – quite exactly since December 2016 which was the C-HR’s launch period.

Mitsubishi is the only Top 15 carmaker to manage a double-digit gain in January.

Over in the kei cars aisle, the Honda N-BOX (-0.6%) remains solidly in the lead with over 19.000 sales, making it by far the best-selling vehicle in Japan. In fact, confirming a trend we have seen in 2018, the 4 top selling vehicles in Japan in January are all kei cars, with the Nissan Note coming in at a weak 5th place overall if we were to put regular and kei cars in the same ranking. These 4 are the aforementioned N-BOX, followed by the Suzuki Spacia (+38%), Nissan Dayz (-8.8%) and Daihatsu Tanto (+8.2%), with the Daihatsu Move (-8.7%) also managing a five-digit score. Below, the Mazda Flair Wagon (+86.9%), the kei car version of the Suzuki Jimny (+78%), Honda S660 (+41%), Daihatsu Mira (+22.4%) and Mitsubishi eK (+20.1%) also post very satisfying results.

Previous post: Japan Full Year 2018: Note is first Nissan to ever top regular car ranking, Honda N-BOX #1 overall, breaks volume record

One year ago: Japan January 2018: Nissan Note #1, Mazda CX-8 and Nissan Leaf shine 

Full January 2019 Top 50 All-brands, Top 50 regular cars and Top 33 All kei cars below.

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