New car sales in Japan were down hard in November, data by industry associations show. Overall registrations were down 6.8 percent in November compared to the same month last year. Japanese are not losing their appetite for new cars, however. They had gorged on mini vehicles in the run-up to last April’s tax hike. The pulled-forward sales need to be digested, and the high base a year ago makes the losses appear bigger.
Sales of mini vehicles, or kei cars, were down 15.8 percent in November, and they are expected to lose even more in the coming months. Registrations of regular vehicles were basically flat.
11 months into the year, new car registrations are down 8.8 percent compared with the same period in 2014. The decrease is not evenly distributed. Due to its high kei exposure, Honda sales in Japan are down 14.5 percent for the year, followed by Nissan (-12.6 percent.) Toyota Group sales lost only 6.8 percent in the first 11 months.
Sales by imports to the allegedly closed market Japan are surprisingly strong. Down only 1 percent for the year, imports keep getting market share. Nearly 10 percent of newly registered regular cars in Japan are imported.