New vehicle registrations in Japan fell by 4.9% to 420,907 units in June, from 442,631 units in the same month of last year, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
The decline reflects an increasingly sluggish domestic economy, despite low unemployment in the country and negative interest rates. The government is expected to launch additional stimulus measures in the coming months to help drive domestic consumption higher.
The market in June was driven lower by sharper weak sales of small and mini vehicles which more than offset higher sales of large cars and medium and heavy trucks – classified by JAMA as standard size vehicles. Sales of buses were almost 20% higher at 956 units.
In the first six months of 2016, total vehicle sales fell by 4.8% to 2,547,345 units, from 2,676,634 units a year earlier. Passenger vehicle sales declined by 5.3% to 2,132,655 units in this period; truck sales were 2.7% lower at 406,740 units; while bus sales rose by over 16.7% to 7,950 units.
Toyota outperformed the market over the six month period with sales rising by 2.2% year on year to 757,164 units; while second-placed Honda reported a 6.1% drop to 370,481 units; Suzuki 330,122 units (-3.2%); Daihatsu 306,358 units (-7.7%); Nissan 279,854 units (-14.4%); and Mazda 108,061 units (-22.3).