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Japan August 2020: Suzuki (+7.1%), Mazda (-3%), Toyota (-9.2%) stand out, sales stuck at -16%

The success of the new Jimny helps make Suzuki the only Top 20 brand in positive in August.

A second, more significant wave of Covid-19 infections lifting total cases from 35.836 on August 1 to 70.858 at the time of writing this article means some restrictions were reinstated in some big cities throughout the month. As a result the new vehicle market can’t make any progress on July (-13.7%), with August volumes down another -16% year-on-year to 326.436 units, pulling the year-to-date tally down -18.6% to 2.930.558 and marking a 10th double-digit year-on-year drop in the past 11 months. We have therefore revised our 2020 Japan Forecast down from 4.44 million units (-15%) last month to 4.37 million (-16%).

The Toyota Yaris signs a 4th win in the past 5 months.

Brand leader Toyota (-9.2%) resists significantly better than its home market and therefore retains a very high share at 31.2%, in line with its YTD level. Suzuki (+7.1%) is once again boosted by very successful kei car launches (see further down) and posts the only year-on-year gain in the entire Top 20, ranking #2 overall for a third consecutive month but still #3 YTD. If Daihatsu (-15.3%) manages to level with the market this month, both Nissan (-26.4%) and Honda (-24.5%) endure steep falls in the remainder of the Top 5. Only three additional Top 20 brands manage a single-digit hold: Mazda (-3%), Volkswagen (-6.7%) and Mercedes (-7.2%) while in contrast Isuzu (-50.1%), Mitsubishi (-45.3%), Subaru (-36.2%) and BMW (-32.6%) all implode.

Toyota Harrier sales are lifted up 103.6% by the new generation.

In the regular cars charts, the new Toyota Yaris scores a 4th monthly win in 7 months of presence in the Japanese market, with the new Toyota Raize in tow, the latter keeping the YTD lead for now. Strikingly, the following four best-sellers all surge year-on-year: the Toyota Corolla (+56.4%), Honda Fit (+29.9%), Toyota Alphard (+53.5%) and Harrier (+103.6%) all post fantastic gains in a depressed market. In fact, Toyota places no less than 13 nameplates in the Top 17, but there are no additional gainers in there. 4 more recent launches make their way into the August Top 40: the Daihatsu Rocky (#22), Mazda2 (#25), Mazda CX-30 (#26) and Nissan Kicks (#38), while the Mazda CX-3 (+367.6%), Suzuki Jimny Wagon (+198.3%), Mazda Roadster (+37.8%) and Suzuki Swift (+3.1%) secure the only other upticks in the Top 50.

Suzuki Hustler sales soar 98% year-on-year in August.

In the kei car aisle, the Honda N-BOX (-20.6%) is undisturbed in pole position ahead of the Suzuki Spacia (-0.9%), Daihatsu Tanto (-45.7%) and Move (-13.7%), replicating the July Top 4. The Suzuki Hustler (+98%) almost doubles its sales year-on-year thanks to its new generation, while the Nissan Roox (#6) and Daihatsu Taft (#9) both confirm they are instant blockbusters in Japan by remaining among the Top 10 most popular kei cars in the country. Below, the Mazda Flair Crossover (+128.2%), Scrum Wagon (+101.9%), Suzuki Jimny (+70%), Mazda Carol (+24.7%), Suzuki Every Wagon (+16.5%), Suzuki Alto (+5.7%), Honda S660 (+2.6%) and Subaru Chiffon (+0.7%) post market-defying gains.

Previous month: Japan July 2020: Strong kei launches lift Suzuki (+10.6%), Daihatsu (+3.1%) in market down another -13.7%

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

Full August 2020 Top 50 All-brands, Top 50 regular cars and Top XX All kei cars below.

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