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Japan March 2024: Toyota (-36%), Daihatsu (-78.1%) pull market down -21.1%

Daihatsu Tanto sales implode -93.6% year-on-year.

Japanese new vehicle sales continue to struggle in March at -21.1% to 451,444, leading to a Q1 tally off -18.1% to 1,131,140. In particular, kei car sales are down -23.6% to 148,228 for the month. Sales continue to be hampered by the safety test falsification scandal at Daihatsu which completely shut down production at the start of the year. Daihatsu sales are down -78.1% to 3.3% share vs. 12.4% over the Full Year 2023. For their part Toyota sales (-36%) are impacted by a test data rigging scandal at an affiliated diesel engine supplier. Mitsubishi (+26.8%), Suzuki (+22.1%) and Honda (+1.7%) all defy the market with year-on-year upticks. Among foreign manufacturers, Porsche (+18.6%), Audi (+17.9%) and BMW (+12.2%) stand out.

Looking at the regular cars ranking, the Toyota Corolla/Cross (-12%) falls slower than the market to hold onto the lead above the Toyota Yaris/Cross (-20.8%). In fact the Top 4 is unchanged with the Nissan Note (-21.3%) and Toyota Prius (+14.8%) in tow, the latter boosted by a new generation. The Honda StepWGN (+178.4%), Nissan Serena (+77.4%) and Honda Vezel (+53.7%) completely ignore the surrounding gloom with fantastic year-on-year lifts. Among recent launches, the Honda ZR-V ranks #18, the Lexus LBX #26 and the Honda WR-V, new for the month, lands directly at #29.

In the kei car aisle, the Honda N-BOX (-26.8%) remains by far the best-seller, also snapping the #1 overall vehicle spot, all this despite a daunting loss. In contrast the Suzuki Spacia (+36%), Hustler (+100.6%) and Wagon R (+26.2%) all surge. The Mitsubishi Delica Mini/eK (+172.9%), Suzuki Jimny (+15%), Nissan Dayz (+12.1%) and Suzuki Alto (+8.7%) also impress below.

The Mini lineup (-10.6%) stays atop the foreign models Q1 ranking, followed by the VW Golf (+78.5%) retiring to its previous glory. 3 Mercedes models follow: the GLC, GLB (+35.7%) and C-Class (-45.6%) following very different trajectories. Below the BMW 2 Series (+73.8%) and Audi A3 (+27.3%), both in excellent shape, the Land Rover Defender 110 (+38.7%) manages its first ever Top 10 finish at #8. The Mercedes G-Class (+18.7%) continues to post fantastic scores while the Porsche 911 scores its first Top 20 finish at #19.

Previous month: Japan February 2024: Daihatsu down -82%, overall sales off -19.2%

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

Full March 2024 Top 51 All brands, Top 50 regular cars, Top 33 All kei cars and Q1 2024 Top 20 foreign models below.

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