Japan's new vehicle market continued to shrink in February 2020, by over 10% to 430,185 units from 479,427 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
The market has been in decline since the government hiked the general sales tax rate from 8% to 10% at the beginning of October last year. This had a significant impact on fourth quarter domestic consumption after businesses and consumers pulled purchases forward ahead of the tax hikes.
Vehicle sales declined by 16.3% to 1,045,531 units in the final three months of last year, resulting in a 1.5% drop in full-year sales to 5,195,216 units.
The global spread of the COVID19 coronavirus is also having an impact on confidence in Japan, with rising global uncertainty affecting exports, consumer spending and corporate investment.
Vehicle sales in the first two months of 2020 were down by almost 11% at 790,288 units compared with 887,402 units a year earlier, with passenger car sales falling by almost 11% to 663,247 units and truck sales down by almost 12% at 125,095 units, while bus sales declined by just 3.5% to 1,946 units.
Toyota was the best-performing major brand in the market in the first two months of the year, with sales falling by just 4.4% to 233,158 units; followed by Honda with 109,533 units (-16.3%); Suzuki 108,971 (-12.2%); Daihatsu 102,549 (-12.5%); Nissan 94,237 (-17.1%); and Mazda 33,016 (-9.6%).