New vehicle registrations in Japan fell by 2.2% to 415,606 units in July, from 425,093 units in the same month of last year, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
The Japanese economy remains sluggish, despite low unemployment levels in the country and negative interest rates. In early August the government launched yet another economic stimulus package to help drive domestic consumption higher.
The market in July continued to be driven lower by sharply weaker sales of mini vehicles, after Mitsubishi Motors admitted earlier this year to have overstated the fuel-economy of its models – which it also supplies to Nissan. This more than offset higher sales of medium and large passenger vehicles and medium and heavy commercial vehicles.
In the first seven months of 2016 total vehicle sales fell by 4.5% to 2,962,955 units, from 3,101,727 units a year earlier. Passenger vehicle sales declined by 4.9% to 2,480,818 units in this period; truck sales were 2.7% lower at 472,911 units; while bus sales rose by over 17.2% to 9,226 units.
Toyota outperformed the market over the seven-month period thanks in part to its limited exposure to the mini-vehicle segment, with sales rising by 3.4 year-on-year to 903,492 units. Second-placed Honda reported a 6.7% drop to 424,050 units; Suzuki 381,377 units (-3.3%); Daihatsu 354,248 units (-4.6%); Nissan 319,933 units (-15.4%); and Mazda 124,478 units (-22.2%).