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March 18, 2010

JAPAN: Vehicle sales forecast to fall

Sales of cars, trucks and buses in Japan in fiscal 2010 beginning April are expected to drop 4.9% from the previous year to a 33-year low of 4,649,600 units, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has said.

Sales of cars, trucks and buses in Japan in fiscal 2010 beginning April are expected to drop 4.9% from the previous year to a 33-year low of 4,649,600 units, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has said.

It would be the lowest level since around 4.23 million units were sold in fiscal 1977, with auto demand expected to fall back when government subsidies for fuel-efficient vehicles expire in September.

JAMA said that sales are expected to grow 4.1% to 4,891,600 units in the business year ending this month, boosted by government subsidies and tax breaks on fuel-efficient cars.

Sales of about 900,000 units in fiscal 2009 and about 700,000 units in fiscal 2010 are anticipated thanks to the government measures, according to JAMA.

”While the subsidies will expire in the first half (of the financial year), we hope auto sales will be supported as economic conditions recover fully through various measures,” JAMA Chairman Satoshi Aoki told the Kyodo news agency, citing the Bank of Japan’s decision Wednesday to further ease its monetary policy.

Aoki, who doubles as chairman of Honda, also called for government steps to stabilise the currency market.

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