Japan’s new vehicle market expanded sharply in October 2020, by over 29% to 406,851 units from 314,798 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

After declining for an entire year, the vehicle market rebounded strongly last month from very weak year earlier volumes – just after the government increased the general sales tax from 8% to 10% in October 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the country’s economy this year with GDP plunging by over 28% year on year in the second quarter of 2020 as domestic consumption and exports plummeted. 

Vehicle sales in the first 10 months of the year declined by almost 15% to 3,807,118 units compared with 4,464,483 units a year earlier, with third quarter volume falling by 14.6% to 1,192,490 units after declines of 32% in the second quarter and 10% in the first quarter of the year.

Both passenger car and truck sales fell by 14.7% YTD to 3,157,873 units and 641,019 units respectively while bus and coach sales declined by over 30% to 8,226 units.

Toyota was one of the best performing major brands year to date with sales falling by just 9% to 1,198,161 units while Suzuki reported an almost 12% decline to 522,590 units, Honda 522,043 (-18%), Daihatsu 488,752 (-13%), Nissan 391,958 units (-21%) and Mazda 151,273 units (-14%).

Sales of imported vehicles also rebounded strongly in October, by 33% to 22,131 units, but the cumulative 10 month total was down by close to 17% at 205,104 units.