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Japanese New Vehicle Sales Continue to Slump

Delayed tax increase hurting Japanese sales.

by on Jun.07, 2016

Auto sales in Japan are expected to continue to struggle as a tax increase has been delayed.

While the market for automobiles in China has received an enormous amount of attention, the market for new vehicles in another Asian giant, Japan, also faces stress.

The decision by the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay a two percentage point increase in the country’s sales tax by two and a half years from April 2017 to 2019 is expected to have an adverse impact on Japan’s carmakers, according to new estimates by BMI Research, a division of Fitch Investor Services.

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Abe delayed the sales tax increase over concerns it could damage domestic demand and derail economic growth, according to BMI. The rise in the sales tax from 8% to 10% was initially meant to take place in October 2015, but was then moved to April 2017 and has now been pushed back even further to October 2019. (more…)

Ford Abandoning Japanese, Indonesian Markets

Maker sees “no reasonable path to profitability.”

by on Jan.25, 2016

Ford has failed to gain traction in Japan, a situation worsened by the country's economic woes.

Ford Motor Co. says it will shutter its operations in both Japan and Indonesia after years of struggling to crack open a market that has largely rejected foreign brands.

The Detroit automaker plans to shut down its dealerships and end imports of both Ford and Lincoln products, Dave Schoch, the president of Ford’s Asia Pacific region advised employees in an email sent out on Monday.

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The move follows the glum conclusion that there is “no reasonable path to profitability,” Schoch stated, adding that, “Unfortunately, this also means that our team members based in Japan and Indonesia will no longer work for Ford Japan or Ford Indonesia following the closures.”

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India Ready to Overtake Japan in Car Sales

But can infrastructure keep up?

by on Mar.15, 2012

Hoping to tap into the booming Indian market, Ford recently went to Delhi to reveal the new Figo.

Already humbled by years of economic stagnation and last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japan’s continuing decline as one of the world’s leading auto markets is likely to be taken down another peg.

A new study by IHS Automotive predicts that sales in India will reach 4.88 million by 2016, which would move that emerging nation past Japan, which the consulting firm forecasts will see automotive sales of just 4.51 million that year.

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Japanese auto sales have been running at barely half their peak rate during the Asian nation’s bubble economy and show little sign of recovery.  In fact, IHS expects the market’s sales to again taper off to just 4.25 million by 2020.  Japan recorded 4.87 million new vehicle sales in 2010 but saw that number dip to 4.13 million the following year, much of that due to lost production and other problems caused by the March 2011 natural disaster.

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April Auto Sales Expected to Rise 19%

But mounting shortages of Japanese products meant fewer good deals.

by on May.03, 2011

In increasingly short supply: the 2012 Honda Civic.

When automakers begin releasing their sales numbers later today the industry could be in for some good news, April new car, truck and crossover sales expected to show a 19% overall gain despite concerns about rising gas prices and an uncertain economy.

But for consumers, the April sales held some disappointment, nonetheless, industry analysts say, with prices rising and incentives falling as the March 11 disaster in Japan began to curb the availability of Asian-made products.

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Indeed, some observers warn that April could be the end of the steady stream of improving sales numbers due to those shortages.  Honda, for one, yesterday warned dealers that it will be unable to keep up with demand for the new Honda Civic, while both Honda and Toyota have decided to delay the launches of several important new products in the months ahead.

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Japan Excludes Imports in its Own Clunker Program

U.S. makers cite “outright discrimination.”

by on Dec.11, 2009

Toyota alone captured nearly 20% of the cars sold through the American Cash for Clunkers program, but Japanese lawmakers have excluded American vehicles from their own Clunkers program.

Toyota alone captured nearly 20% of the cars sold through the American Cash for Clunkers program, but Japanese lawmakers have excluded American vehicles from their own Clunkers program.

Like much of the developed world, Japan has been struggling to reverse an economic downturn that has hit hard its long-ailing auto industry.  Sales will barely top 5 million, this year, off nearly half from the country’s one-time car sale peak.

But there have been some signs of life in the wake of recent government incentives, and Japanese auto industry leaders are particularly upbeat about their prospects in light of a new program similar to the federally-funded Cash for Clunkers campaign that sent demand soaring, in the U.S., over the summer.

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There’s one big problem, foreign makers contend, citing what they call “outright discrimination.”  The Japanese program is designed specifically to assist home market manufacturers, effectively locking out struggling importers who, for the most part, have long been able to crack the Japanese market.

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Japan Car Sales Jump 18.3% for November

Long-troubled market shows third consecutive gain.

by on Dec.01, 2009

The Japanese version of the new Honda Insight has helped prop up the carmaker's sales.

The Japanese version of the new Honda Insight has helped prop up the carmaker's sales.

In a sign that the Japanese economy is gaining some life, car sales jumped 18.3% in November, the industry reported today.  That marked the third monthly increase in a row following 13 straight months of decline.

Of course, the turnaround needs to be put in perspective, since late 2008 saw sharp declines.  In fact, the latest 18.3% increase barely offsets the 18.2% drop in the Japanese car market in November 2008.

On the whole, the market operated at a flat, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate, or SAAR, of 5.3 million, which is barely half the Japanese market’s one-time peak.

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(Click Here for Joe Szczesny’s report on the seemingly irreversible, long-term decline of the Japanese car market.)

November demand for minicars, particularly popular on the crowded urban streets of Japan, surged 6.5%, but so-called non-minis grew 36%.

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