Japan’s new vehicle market fell 12% to 334,838 units in January 2024 from 382,338 units a year earlier, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The market last month was held back mainly by sharply lower sales by Daihatsu, Toyota and Mazda, after shipments of a large number of models were halted towards the end of December following the safety test falsification scandal at Daihatsu.

The strong earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture last month also temporarily affected operations at some local vehicle manufacturers, including Toyota.

The market rebounded strongly last year from the Covid pandemic and the subsequent supply chain shortages which held back production in 2022 and was beginning to come up against increasingly strong year earlier volume.

Passenger vehicle sales fell 11% to 285,431 units in January while truck sales were down 21% at 48,651 units. Sales of medium and large buses and coaches continued to rebound, however, by 41% to 756 units.

Toyota sales fell by 15% to 105,183 units last month with the company now also affected by a test data rigging scandal at an affiliated diesel engine supplier.

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Daihatsu sales plunged 63% to 20,243 units following a 13% drop in December while Mazda sales were down 34% at 10,477 units.

Companies not affected by the recent Toyota Group scandals fared much better, including Suzuki with a 2% sales rise to 56,710 units; Honda 53,403 (+19%); and Nissan 41,041 (+5%).