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Japan March 2023: Lexus (+204.9%) superstar again, sales up 11.6%

Lexus triples its sales year-on-year in March.

15/05 update: Now with Q1 2023 Top 20 foreign models.

March is always a strong month for Japanese new vehicle sales as it is the end of the financial year and manufacturers rush to meet targets. Sales are up 11.6% year-on-year this month to 572,494 units, leading to a Q1 tally up 15.4% to 1,381,558. Remember March 2022 was off -16.3% on the year prior. Toyota (+22.4%) once again posts a very solid result, doubling its home market’s growth. Honda (-1.9%) jumps two spots on February to #2, leapfrogging past Suzuki (+5.1%) and Daihatsu (+18.9%). Lexus (+204.9%) is on a very impressive roll at #8 as is Isuzu (+102%). All remaining Top 10 members trail the market, with Subaru (-8.3%) the worst hit followed by Mitsubishi (+1.6%) and Mazda (+7%). Further down the charts, Land Rover (+134.3%), Jeep (+98.5%), Audi (+68.6%), Citroen (+42.9%) and Peugeot (+40.7%) are among the biggest gainers. Notice also BYD up 8 ranks on last month to #28 but with a tiny 0.03% market share. 

In the regular cars ranking, the Toyota Yaris/Cross (+28%) and Toyota Corolla/Cross (+24%) keep the leas with splendid gains with the Nissan Note (+5.6%) climbing onto the podium despite a shy year-on-year uptick. The Toyota Sienta (+128.3%) surges ahead while the Toyota Roomy (-25.4%) closes out the Top 5 like last month. The Honda Freed (-3.6%) is the only additional non-Toyota near the top as the #1 manufacturer in the country places 9 models in the Top 11, and 13 in the Top 16. The remainder of the Top 11 all outpace the market with double-digit gains. The Toyota Prius (+86.2%) is the most dynamic thanks to a new generation, ahead of the Harrier (+66.5%), Noah (+55.9%), Voxy (+42.1%) and Aqua (+33.9%). In order of sales, the Toyota Land Cruiser W (+132.5%), Crown (+111.8%), Subaru Impreza (+106.9%), Lexus NX350H (+985.4%), Nissan X-Trail (+146.2%) and Honda StepWGN (+113.3%) shine below.

Over in the kei car aisle, the Honda N-BOX (+8.9%) is once again #1 and also the best-selling vehicle in the country (as it sells more than the Toyota Yaris/Cross). The Daihatsu Tanto (+52.3%) surges ahead to stay in 2nd place while the Suzuki Spacia (+29.5%) overtakes the Daihatsu Move (+52%). The Nissan Roox (-23.1%) is in a rut but manages to stay at #5. The Daihatsu Taft (+16.7%) is the only remaining Top 10 kei car to beat the market, whereas the Nissan Dayz (-22.1%), Daihatsu Mira (-19.1%), Suzuki Wagon R (-15.2%) and Alto (-2.9%) all falter. Illustrating the slow take up of EVs in Japan, the Nissan Sakura ranks #15 and the Mitsubishi eK Cross EV ranks #19.

As far as foreign models are concerned and over Q1 2023, the Mini lineup (-8.6%) holds onto the top spot ahead of the Mercedes C-Class (-4.7%). The VW T-Cross jumps from #11 over Q4 2022 to #3 now, distancing the Volvo 60 Series (+10%) and XC40 (+12%). The BMW 3 Series (+9.8%) is also relatively solid at #6 whereas the VW Golf (-10.1%) skids down from #3 over the Full Year 2022 to #7. Excellent performance of the Jeep Wrangler at #9, while the Citroen Berlingo (#14) and Land Rover Defender 110 (#15) both make their very first appearance inside the Top 20 foreigners.

Previous month: Japan February 2023: Toyota (+48%), Lexus (+234.9%) in market up 20.3%

One year ago: Japan March 2022: Nissan (-6.9%), Honda (-8.2%) resist in market down another 16.3%

Full March 2023 Top 50 All brands, Top 50 regular cars, Top 35 All kei cars and Q1 2023 Top 20 foreign models below.

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