The Japanese new car market is not off to a good start at all in 2015. Total new motor vehicle registrations were down thumping 19.1 percent, as combined data from industry organizations show. In what looked like a complete blood bath, all major automakers had to take in double digit losses. Honda down 30.5 percent, Nissan down 15.7 percent, Toyota down 19.3 percent. What was the reason for the collapse?
It’s mostly a statistical mirage. In January 2014, Japanese customers stormed automakers (in the usual polite fashion) to buy new wheels. The idea was to beat Abe’s sales tax rise in April. Compared to that, anything normal will look dismal. Expect this effect to continue for the next two months.
The statistics were equally merciless across all car classes. Regular vehicles were down 18.9 percent compared to that crazy January last year. Sales of mini vehicles suffered a 19.4 percent setback. Mini vehicles hold a 41% share of the total Japanese auto market. Sales of imported vehicles, down 17.4 percent in January, smarted slightly less than the locals.