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Japan March 2020: Mazda shines, Corolla, Fit and Yaris surge to top, VW T-Cross instant hit in slimmest market drop in 6 months (-9.3%)

The Honda Fit hits its highest ranking at home in over 5 years at #2.

Apart from school closures, international travel bans and of course the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, as of March 31 Japan had been relatively unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic, even being hailed as a success story of community prevention and protection against the virus. March new vehicle sales are very important as they mark the end of the Japanese Financial Year and traditionally trigger the highest monthly volume all year. And thanks to a low infection rate throughout the month and no business closures, they even mark a slight improvement over the five consecutive double-digit drops endured from October to February at -9.3% to 581.438. The year-to-date tally is now down -10.2% to 1.371.726 units. However, April is likely to be the month when the Japanese market falls off a cliff: confirmed COVID0-19 cases have doubled in the past week (from 1.953 as of March 31 to 3.906 as of April 6), and Prime Minister Abe is expected to declare a month-long state of emergency, the first in Japan history, on April 7. The declaration is set to take effect in the prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka.

The Toyota Corolla scores its largest monthly volume in 12 years.

Some manufacturers such as Toyota, Mazda and Subaru have idled local factories due to slumping overseas demand, but the national market is untouched in March. Toyota (-2.9%) only edges up to reach 29.9% share while Suzuki (-9.9%) follows the market and is up to #2, dislodging Honda (-13.4%) in difficulty. Mazda (+8.2%) posts the only gain among the Top 12 carmakers, with Daihatsu (-6.1%) also outpacing its home market but Mitsubishi (-26%), Nissan (-19%), Subaru (-18.2%) and Isuzu (-16.7%) are hit hard this month. Mercedes (-11.7%) remains the most popular foreign carmaker above Volkswagen (-18%), BMW (-19.8%), Audi (-0.1%), Mini (-26.3%) and Volvo (-7.9%), a ranking unchanged on February. Ferrari (+91.8%), Porsche (+69.8%), Citroen (+52.4%), Cadillac (+29.2%), Jeep (+25%), Lotus (+14.3%) and Fiat (+8.1%) are among the best performers further down but none manages a market share above 0.2%.

The Toyota Yaris lands on the podium for its 2nd month in market.

In the regular car ranking, the Toyota Corolla (+54.8%) ends two months of interruption by the Toyota Raize (#4) to resume its charts domination, posting a 4th win in the past 6 months. At 16.327 units, the Corolla signs its largest monthly volume at home since March 2008 (20.580). Note before the current streak, the Corolla had not managed to rank #1 in Japan for 12 years: between October 2007 and October 2019, hampered by the success of the similarly-sized Prius. Boosted by a new generation, the Honda Fit (+37.3%) climbs to 2nd place this month, its highest ranking since January 2015 (#2), also scoring its largest volume since March 2016 at 14.845. Launched last month and now sporing the same name as overseas, the Toyota Yaris shoots up 19 spots to land in third place with 13.164 units, and we have to go back to April 2019 (#3) and July 2012 (13.138) to find equivalent scores by its predecessor the Vitz. The Toyota Tank (+17%), Roomy (+10.6%) and Alphard (+3.8%) also shine in the Top 20, while the Toyota RAV4 (#15), Mazda CX-30 (#18), Mazda2 (#19), Daihatsu Rocky (#22) and Mazda3 (#31) are the other recent launches making it into the Top 50.

The Nissan Roox is reborn, and just misses out on a Top 10 kei car ranking.

The Top 5 kei cars are all in negative this month and only two of them outsell the #1 regular car: the Honda N-BOX (-16.4%) and Daihatsu Tanto (-6.2%) up one spot on February to #2. The Suzuki Spacia (-14.7%) and Daihatsu Move (-12.2%) also leapfrog past the Nissan Dayz (-26.7%) down 3 ranks to #5. In contrast, the Suzuki Hustler (+72.3%) and Honda N-WGN (+64.7%) both post spectacular gains to fit within the March Top 7 kei cars, just as the Suzuki Alto (+0.5%) manages to edge up to #8. Just outside the Top 10, we have a spectacular new launch: the Nissan Roox (a nameplate that was discontinued in June 2013) landing directly at #11 with over 7.600 sales. Mazda also stuns with four of its kei cars getting a mammoth uptick: the Flair Crossover (+141.3%), Flair (+51.3%), Carol (+35.2%) and Flair Wagon (+33%).

The VW T-Cross is an instant hit: directly #4 foreigner over Q1 2020.

Over the first Quarter of 2020, the Mini family (-24.6%) remains the best-selling “model” in Japan ahead of the VW Golf (-22.7%) and a surging Mercedes A-Class (+89.4%), replicating the Q4 2019 podium. But there is a thunderclap just outside the podium: the VW T-Cross is an instant blockbuster with Japanese buyers and lands at #4 with over 3.500 units sold in three months, in essence killing the VW Polo (-41%) down from #5 in Q4 2019 to #10 in Q1 2020. The BMW 3 Series drops one spot to #5, while the Volvo 60-Series (+16%) and 40-Series (-15.1%) both gain two spots to #6 and #7 respectively. Mercedes manages to place six nameplates inside the Top 20: the A-Class (#3), C-Class (#8), CLA (#9), GLC (#11), B-Class (#15) and E-Class (#17). The Jeep Wrangler posts a fourth consecutive quarter inside the Top 15 at #12 while the Audi Q2 (+6.9%) is also up year-on-year but down 4 spots on Q4 2019 to #16.

Previous month: Japan February 2020: Toyota Raize #1 again, Honda N-WGN up, Toyota Yaris in, 5th double-digit drop (-10.3%)

One year ago: Japan March 2019: Suzuki (+3.7%), Volvo (+11.3%) stay afloat in market down -4%

Full March 2020 Top 52 All-brands, Top 50 regular cars, Top 33 All-kei cars and Q1 2020 Top 20 foreign models below.

Japan March 2020 – brands:

13Mitsubishi Fuso5,6311.0%6.5%1411,3980.8%6.3%1415
21UD Trucks1,2010.2%-3.7%222,1760.2%-8.0%2121
25Land Rover5830.1%-23.7%251,2400.1%-14.7%2525
29Alfa Romeo2200.0%-35.7%294410.0%-36.4%2829
32StreetScooter830.0%new321600.0%new35 –
43Aston Martin240.0%-62.5%43620.0%-30.3%4341
49GMC40.0%100.0% –90.0%0.0%5047
50Chrysler30.0%0.0% –70.0%-12.5%5148
 –Others580.0%-45.8% –2710.0%74.8% – –

Japan March 2020 – regular cars:

1Toyota Corolla16,32754.8%334,70540.2%14
2Honda Fit14,84537.3%724,8017.3%512
3Toyota Yaris13,164new2216,655new15 –
4Toyota Raize12,009new132,208new240
5Nissan Note10,999-33.9%228,441-30.6%32
6Toyota Sienta10,456-3.2%625,553-9.9%43
7Toyota Prius9,717-37.5%923,894-33.8%71
8Toyota Roomy9,70010.6%823,5755.6%97
9Honda Freed9,528-4.5%1023,607-4.8%89
10Nissan Serena9,130-26.5%424,558-26.6%66
11Toyota Voxy8,963-18.3%1121,265-22.2%118
12Toyota Aqua8,488-46.5%523,543-34.6%105
13Toyota Tank8,26117.0%1219,3135.4%1211
14Toyota Alphard7,8853.8%1418,273-4.6%1313
15Toyota RAV46,286new1317,574new1416
16Suzuki Solio5,7024.3%1713,295-0.6%1719
17Toyota Noah5,649-17.1%1612,837-21.5%1817
18Mazda CX-305,647new2012,310new2050
20Subaru Impreza5,459-17.3%1513,8056.1%1620
21Toyota C-HR5,172-42.2%1812,627-34.8%1915
22Daihatsu Rocky5,011new2411,575new21n/a
23Toyota Esquire4,446-16.9%2310,814-13.0%2421
24Honda Vezel4,404-46.4%2111,456-38.6%2214
25Honda StepWGN4,382-35.8%1911,439-32.3%2318
26Suzuki Swift4,334-3.2%299,694-8.9%2727
27Mazda CX-54,198-33.7%269,927-27.7%2629
28Toyota Passo4,007-30.3%259,349-30.6%2822
29Daihatsu Thor4,0011.1%357,594-26.3%3332
30Toyota Crown3,720-35.3%337,765-45.4%3226
32Subaru Forester3,477-31.1%318,097-18.8%3028
33Toyota Harrier2,908-42.7%346,835-42.1%3525
34Toyota Land Cruiser W2,823-29.6%366,523-33.4%3631
35Toyota Vellfire2,719-41.2%396,437-45.8%3723
36Nissan X-Trail2,611-58.1%307,931-47.5%3124
37Toyota Vitz2,575-76.5%289,030-62.4%2910
38Mazda CX-82,302-47.6%415,368-49.7%3936
39Suzuki Xbee2,107-31.8%385,579-26.1%3835
40Mitsubishi Delica D52,014-61.9%454,470-44.1%4237
41Toyota Camry1,746-32.5%424,148-30.0%4339
42Honda Shuttle1,707-22.2%405,117-29.7%4030
43Subaru WRX1,65787.0%443,61696.8%44n/a
44Subaru Levorg1,346-36.8%463,004-17.3%4644
45Nissan Leaf1,330-44.1%275,064-28.5%4138
46Daihatsu Boon1,273-6.8%n/an/an/an/an/a
47Suzuki Jimny Wagon1,134-24.3%433,560-17.9%4547
48Toyota Hiace1,115-4.7%n/an/an/an/a48
49Honda Odyssey1,090-42.1%522,713-40.6%4741
50Lexus UX250H1,090-47.5%512,653-41.2%4842

Japan March 2020 – kei cars:

1Honda N-BOX22,078-16.4%160,208-8.8%11
2Daihatsu Tanto17,370-6.2%344,198-5.6%22
3Suzuki Spacia16,077-14.7%442,433-13.4%33
4Daihatsu Move14,023-12.2%534,550-10.7%55
5Nissan Dayz11,612-26.7%241,373-5.8%44
6Suzuki Hustler10,37272.3%921,71529.8%99
7Honda N-WGN10,27164.7%624,76457.7%612
8Suzuki Alto9,7180.5%822,4060.6%78
9Daihatsu Mira9,222-24.4%722,232-29.4%86
10Suzuki WagonR9,138-34.3%1018,993-37.6%107
11Nissan Roox7,633new –7,633new12 –
12Mitsubishi eK6,6512.7%1112,863-17.4%1110
13Daihatsu Cast2,910-42.2%137,580-41.3%1311
14Suzuki Jimny2,081-47.6%126,976-25.1%1413
15Suzuki Every Wagon2,003-11.8%155,214-0.9%1516
16Daihatsu Wake1,877-28.1%144,847-31.2%1615
17Toyota Pixis1,778-30.3%173,956-36.6%1814
18Mazda Flair Wagon1,77633.0%163,9614.6%1718
19Mazda Flair1,40151.3%192,205-1.0%1919
20Mazda Flair Crossover1,040141.3%301,1822.7%2427
21Mazda Carol69135.2%221,486-4.7%2122
22Subaru Chiffon6024.9%181,60523.1%2020
23Subaru Stella528-27.0%241,146-29.7%2521
24Daihatsu Atrai Wagon500-7.9%211,270-17.9%2323
25Nissan NV100 Clipper Rio468-5.6%201,3568.2%2224
26Subaru Pleo350-34.7%23968-27.1%2625
27Honda S660285-14.7%27668-19.2%2928
28Daihatsu Copen247-27.1%25700-23.8%2826
29Toyota Copen GR Sport237new28611new3031
30Honda N-ONE181-89.0%26919-80.0%2717
31Mazda Scrum Wagon119-24.2%29294-22.4%3129
32Mitsubishi Town Box62-27.1%31190-14.0%3230
33Subaru Dias Wagon33-37.7%3293-36.3%3332

Japan Q1 2020 – foreign models:

PosModelQ1 2020/19Q4FY19
2VW Golf3,771-22.7%22
3Mercedes A-Class3,70689.4%34
4VW T-Cross3,518new – –
5BMW 3 Series2,63022.6%46
6Volvo S/V/XC602,04016.0%88
7Volvo V40/XC401,957-15.1%97
8Mercedes C-Class1,919-66.3%63
9Mercedes CLA1,91144.1%717
10VW Polo1,751-41.0%55
11Mercedes GLC1,694-22.3%1010
12Jeep Wrangler1,508n/a1516
13BMW 1 Series1,345-1.8%1319
14Audi A31,317n/a1414
15Mercedes B-Class1,248n/a1115
16Audi Q21,2306.9%1220
17Mercedes E-Class1,160-50.6%169
18Fiat 5001,156-15.1%n/an/a
19BMW X11,062-22.0%1712
20VW Tiguan980-46.7%1913


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