Japan new car sales, April 2015: Pulled-forward Kei cars pull sales down

Japan--2--Picture-courtesy-Bertel-Schmitt

Registrations of new automobiles in Japan dropped 7.5 percent to 319,482 units, consolidated data released by industry associations show. The culprit was a sudden cooling of Japan’s love-affair with the mini vehicle.

Sales of mini vehicles, or kei cars, dropped 22.5 percent in April as a tax hike on the 0.6 liter carlets went into effect. Throughout 2014, sales of mini vehicles were strong, with the looming tax hike providing extra incentive to buy.  Now, the hangover.

Mini vehicles hold a market share of around 40 percent in Japan. In April, their share dropped to 37.9 percent.

Sales of regular vehicles rose 5 percent in April. Sales of imports rose around 15 percent.

April and year-to-data data are here.