Japan’s new vehicle market was just slightly higher at 432,299 units in February 2021 from 430,185 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The market last month was affected by some plant stoppages due to the global shortage of semiconductors, with some manufacturers affected more than others. Sales overall are trending higher, however, after rebounding strongly in the fourth quarter of 2020 and growing by almost 7% in January – as the country continues to recover from last year’s sharp recession caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vehicle sales in the first two months of the year were up by 3.3% at 816,741 units 790,288 in the same period of last year, with passenger car sales rising by 3.5% at 686,437 units and truck sales 3.3% higher at 129,182 units, as domestic business activity and international trade continued to recover. The market for buses and coaches continued to struggle with reduced demand for travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with sales plummeting by over 42% to 1,122 units over the two month period.

Toyota was one of the best-performing brands year-to-date, with sales rising by 9.1% to 254,442 units, while Suzuki enjoyed a 9.2% increase to 118,951 units, Daihatsu 105,763 (+3.1%), Honda 101,759 (-7.1%), Nissan 93,308 (-0.9%), and Mazda 33,485 (+1.4%).

Sales of imported vehicles fell by 3.9% to 36,139 units.