Japanese new vehicle sales continued to rebound strongly in February 2023, by 20% to 426,726 units from weak year earlier sales of 354,668 units, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

This was the sixth consecutive month of growth, driven by a gradual easing of semiconductor shortages from the second half of last year.

The outlook for the domestic economy had also improved in recent months with consumers benefiting from government policies and wage hikes. The OECD earlier this year revised upwards its economic growth forecast to 1.8% for 2023 and 0.9% in 2024 with government fiscal policy expected to underpin household consumption.

Sales in the first two months of 2023 increased 18% to 809,064 units from 684,367 a year earlier, with passenger vehicle sales rising 20% to 676,151 while truck sales rose 9% to 131,679 units. Sales of buses and coaches surged 32% to 1,234 units, as the segment began to rebound from the pandemic lows.

Toyota sales rebounded 32% to 270,222 units YTD following its acute supply chain shortages last year while Suzuki volume rose 23% to 113,310 units; Daihatsu 108,773 (+18%); Honda 94,911 (-6%); Nissan 83,892 (+12%); and Mazda 33,073 (+5%).