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Imported vehicle sales in Japan decline 11.5% y/y during March

06 April 2020 IHS Markit Automotive Expert


Imported vehicle sales in Japan declined 11.5% year on year (y/y) to 37,988 units during March, compared with 42,922 units in March 2019, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association (JAIA). Of this total, foreign brands' imported vehicle sales declined by 13.1% y/y to 31,888 units, while sales of Japanese-branded imports declined by 1.9% y/y to 6,100 units. By brand, Mercedes-Benz continued to lead the imported market with a 18.2% share, its sales declining 11.7% y/y to 6,925 units. Volkswagen (VW) followed with a market share of 14% and sales of 5,312 units, down 18% y/y. BMW took third place with sales of 4,784 units (down 19.2% y/y) and a market share of 12.6%. Among the Japanese brands, Toyota sold 2,961 imported units last month (up 12.1% y/y), followed by Honda with 1,529 units (up 51.1% y/y), compared with 1,005 units in March 2019. In the year to date (January-March), sales of imported vehicles in Japan declined 9.6% y/y to 83,373 units. Of this total, sales of foreign-branded imports were down 9.5% y/y to 69,442 units, while Japanese brands' imported vehicle sales declined 10.1% y/y to 13,931 units.

Significance: Imported vehicle sales in Japan declined in March for a sixth consecutive month. Sales were down 4.9% y/y during r 2019 because of the consumption tax rise from 1 October, the first since April 2014. Sales in March were down as consumers continued to cut back on spending following the consumption tax increase. Additionally, the market has been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus. Various automakers across the globe have scaled down their production due to parts shortage and a plunge in demand from both domestic and overseas markets.

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