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Japanese new vehicle sales decline 3.1% y/y in September
IHS Markit perspective:
- Implications: Japanese sales of mainstream registered vehicles posted a decline of 3.1% year on year (y/y) during September to 308,324 units. Meanwhile, mini-vehicle sales remained flat at 177,055 units in September, compared with 177,013 units in the same month last year.
- Outlook: IHS Markit currently forecasts that light-vehicle sales in Japan will total nearly 5.08 million units during 2018, down 0.9% y/y, because the country's economic growth is likely to soften this year as economic momentum eases and the government refrains from major fiscal stimulus. Of the total light-vehicle sales, passenger car sales, which account for nearly 85% of the overall market, are expected to decline by 1.6% to 4.28 million units in 2018. Sales of light commercial vehicles are forecast to grow by 3% to 798,767 units this year.
Japanese sales of mainstream registered vehicles posted a 3.1% year on year (y/y) during September to 308,324 units, according to data released by the Japan Automobile Dealers' Association (JADA) today (1 October). This figure excludes mini-vehicles, thus covering all vehicles with engines greater than 660 cc, including both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles (CVs), sold in Japan. Of the total, sales of passenger and compact cars declined 4.0% y/y to 265,059 units in September, while truck sales were up 2.4% y/y to 41,987 units and bus sales increased 14.1% y/y to 1,278 units. Meanwhile, 38,219 vehicles were imported into Japan in September, down 4.5% y/y. Sales of new vehicles in the first nine months of 2018 stood at 2.56 million units, down 3.1% y/y.
Within the mainstream vehicle market, Toyota continued to lead the market by a wide margin and sold 122,471 vehicles during September, down 6.9% y/y. It was followed by Nissan, which sold 41,937 units, up 3.2% y/y. Honda took third spot with a 9.0% y/y decline in sales to 34,047 units, followed by Mazda with 18,913 units (down 3.5% y/y) and Subaru with 12,334 units (down 7.0% y/y). Suzuki came sixth with sales of 11,548 units, a 15.8% y/y increase. Seventh and eighth positions were occupied by Isuzu and Hino with sales of 9,676 units (up 8.5% y/y) and 7,615 units (up 40.5% y/y) respectively. They were followed by Mitsubishi and Mitsubishi Fuso with sales of 5,065 units (up 28.2% y/y) and 3,976 units (down 13.1% y/y) respectively.
Meanwhile, industry sales of mini-vehicles remained flat at 177,055 units in September, compared with 177,013 units in the same month last year, according to the Japan Mini Vehicles Association. Suzuki attained top spot with 53,657 units, up 5.7% y/y. It was closely followed by Daihatsu with 50,752 units, marking a marginal 0.1% y/y increase. Honda recorded sales of 37,048 units, down 4.0% y/y, to take third place. Nissan occupied fourth position with 19,157 units (down 4.2% y/y), followed by Mitsubishi with 6,329 units (down 6.7% y/y), Mazda with 3,929 units (down 5.7% y/y), and Toyota with 3,298 units (up 19.2% y/y). Subaru came last on the list with 2,882 units, a 10.2% y/y decline. Year-to-date (YTD) sales of mini-vehicles were up 3.2% y/y nearly 1.47 million units.
Outlook and implications
IHS Markit currently forecasts that light-vehicle sales in Japan will total nearly 5.08 million units during 2018, down 0.9%, because Japan's economic growth is likely to soften this year as economic momentum eases and the government refrains from major fiscal stimulus. Of the total, passenger car sales, which account for nearly 85% of the overall market, are expected to decline by 1.6% to 4.28 million units in 2018. Sales of light commercial vehicles are forecast to grow by 3% to 798,767 units this year.
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