Japan’s new vehicle market declined by over 2% to 319,697 units in August 2021 from weak year earlier sales of 326,439 units, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Economic growth in the current quarter has been held back by government measures to contain the surge in coronavirus infections in the last several months, after rebounding by 7.5% year on year in the second quarter. The continued global semiconductor shortage has also impacted vehicle production in the country in recent months with the situation expected to worsen in September.

In the first eight months of 2021, vehicle sales increased by just under 8% to 3,161,731 units after declining by almost 19% to 2,930,561 units in the same period of last year, with passenger car sales rising by 7.8% to 2,616,430 units and truck sales up by 8.8% at 540,307 units, driven by particularly strong demand for minivehicles.

The buses and coaches market continued to struggle with reduced demand for travel due to the pandemic, with sales plunging by almost 30% to 4,994 units year to date.

Toyota was the best performing local brand in the first eight months of the year, with sales rising by 12.7% to 1,028,194 units, while second placed Suzuki saw its sales rise by 7.2% to 430,944 units, Daihatsu 409,159 (+10.2%), Honda 409,046 (-0.3%), Nissan 315,647 (+2.5%) and Mazda 112,125 (-4%).

Sales of imported vehicles have outperformed so far this year with registrations rising by 16.3% to 176,109 units.