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Japan August 2019: Kei cars (+11.5%) lift market to highest gain this year (+6.7%), first win for the Toyota Sienta

The Toyota Sienta is the best-selling regular car in Japan for the first time in history.

The Japanese new vehicle market posts a third consecutive year-on-year uptick and its largest since last November at +6.7% to 388.600 registrations. Kei cars are almost solely responsible for this dynamic lift with sales up 11.5% to 145.882 or 37.5% share vs. 35.9% a year ago vs. just +4% to 242.718 for regular cars. The year-to-date volume is now up 1.8% to 3.601.476, and once again kei cars perform better but not as strikingly as this month at +2.5% to 1.322.611 vs. +1.4% to 2.278.265 regular cars.

Brand leader Toyota (+4.2%) easily remains at #1 with 28.9% share vs. 14.8% for #2 Honda (+20.3%) in outstanding shape, scoring the largest gain in the Top 6. Rounding up the podium, Daihatsu (+14.2%) also impresses whereas Suzuki (-6.9%), Nissan (-2.4%) and Mazda (-6.4%) go against the grain with year-on-year falls. Double-digit gains are frequent in the Top 20: Isuzu (+60.4%), Lexus (+52.1%), Jeep (+48.9%), Mitsubishi Fuso (+39.3%), Hino (+37.9%), Mitsubishi (+12.9%) and BMW (+11%) all deliver excellent scores while among smaller brands (0.2% share and below), McLaren (+181.8%), DS (+103.8%), Alpina (+100%), Citroen (+74.6%), Rolls Royce (+61.1%), Land Rover (+52.6%), Peugeot (+22.9%), Ferrari (+27.1%), Maserati (+21.6%), Lamborghini (+13.9%) and Bentley (+12.5%) stand out.

A very rare feat: we have a new #1 in the regular cars ranking: after getting stuck in 2nd place overall no less than 6 times (August to November 2015 and November and December 2018), the Toyota Sienta (+57.8%), originally launched in July 2015, leaps up two spots on last month to snap the August pole position with a 569-sale margin over YTD #1 the Toyota Prius (+9.4%). The Nissan Serena (+21.3%) jumps 5 ranks on July to land on the podium for the first time since last January. The Toyota Roomy (+21%), Tank (+14.6%) and Honda Freed (+20.2%) also impress in the Top 10 while the Toyota RAV4 is up one spot to #9 and still by far the best-selling SUV in Japan above the Toyota C-HR (#17) and Honda Vezel (#19) but also the most popular recent launch (<12 months) ahead of the Mazda3 (#16), Lexus UX250H (#40) and ES300H (#45).

Once again the best-selling kei cars generate much higher volumes than the most popular regular cars, with the Top 5 kei cars all outselling the Toyota Sienta for the month. The Honda N-BOX (+17.9%) remains in pole position but the Daihatsu Tanto (+73.3%), helped by a new generation just launched, is catching up and steps up to #2 YTD, topping the Suzuki Spacia (-2.7%) just as the Nissan Dayz (+34.4%) also performs extremely well. Even the Daihatsu Move (+10.5%) is solid in 5th place and convincing more buyers than the Toyota Sienta as detailed above. Other great gainers in the kei car category include the Honda N-WGN (+88.1%), Subaru Chiffon (+49.5%), Mitsubishi eK (+39.3%) and Daihatsu Cast (+20.1%).

Previous month: Japan July 2019: Toyota Prius (+34.1%), Daihatsu Tanto (+35.6%) help market up 4.1%

One year ago: Japan August 2018: Toyota Corolla scores first podium in 3 years

Full August 2019 Top 55 All-brands, Top 50 regular cars and Top XX All kei cars below.

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