The Japanese Domestic Market appears to be more resilient than predicted. All registrations were down only a slight 0.8 percent in September. For the first nine months of the year, registrations are still up 6 percent, data released by Japanese industry associations show.
A sales tax rise in April front-loaded the Japanese market into the first quarter of the year. In March, total registrations were up 20.7 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013. For the rest of the year, double-digit losses were predicted.
This did not happen. Sales were healthier than thought, and the year could end with a small gain than with the predicted steep loss.
When registrations were down 9.1 percent in August, the dire predictions appeared to have arrived with a delay unseemly for the usual highly punctual Japan. A month later, the momentary weakness was forgotten. Mini vehicles that were down 15.1 percent in August were up 2.5 percent in September, nearly making up for a 2.8 percent loss among the regular cars. More than 40 percent of all cars sold in Japan this year are of the mini vehicle variety.
Among Japan’s Big Three, Honda is up a surprising 24.6 percent in the first nine months, costing Nissan and Toyota precious market share.