New vehicle sales in Japan continued to decline sharply in August 2020, by 16% to 326,436 units from strong year earlier sales of 388,600, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

After a 32% decline in the second quarter of the year, the market continued to struggle as domestic consumers retrenched further amid rising economic uncertainty due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP plunged by almost 28%, after shrinking by 3.4% in the first quarter, as domestic consumption and exports plummeted.

Vehicle sales in the first eight months of the year declined by close to 19% to 2,930,558 units compared with 3,601,476 a year earlier. Passenger car sales fell by 18.6% to 2,427,099 units in this period, while truck sales were down by 18.5% at 496,356 units and bus sales declined by 27.5% to 7,103 units. 

Toyota was one of the best performing major brands in the market year to date, with sales falling by just 14% to 911,973 units; while second-placed Honda reported a 22.3% decline to 409,183 units; Suzuki 401,957 (-15.8%); Daihatsu 371,255 (-17.5%); Nissan 307,800 (-24.1%); and Mazda 116,771 units (-13.7%).

Sales of imported vehicles fell by 15.2% to 18,243 units in August and by close to 22% to 151,414 in the first eight months of the year.