A tax hike has dragged Q4 sales in Japan down, but the cumulative picture this year looks pretty flat

A tax hike has dragged Q4 sales in Japan down, but the cumulative picture this year looks pretty flat

Japan's new vehicle market continued to decline sharply in November 2019, by almost 13% to 385,859 units from 441,943 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

A significant market decline had been largely anticipated for the fourth-quarter of the year, in the wake of the well signalled hike in the general sales tax rate from 8% to 10% at the beginning of October.  Revised government data shows economic growth has remained strong this year, with third-quarter GDP growth estimated at 1.7% year-on-year - helped by strong domestic consumption ahead of the sales tax hike.

Cumulative sales turned negative in November, with the eleven-month total down by 0.7% at 4,850,342 units from 4,442,599 units in the same period of last year. Sales of passenger cars fell by 1.4% to 4,016,814 units in this period, while truck sales rose by 2.5% to 820,925 units and bus sales were up by 1.0% at 12,603 units.

Toyota's sales rose by 2.9% to 1,439,179 units year-to-date after declining by 5% in the whole of 2018; while second-placed Honda's sales declined by 1.5% to 682,959 units; Suzuki 648,452 (-2.2%); Daihatsu 618,306 units (+3.4%); Nissan 535,220 units (-7.6%); and Mazda 188,271 units (-8.6%).

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