Japans Vehicle Production, Sales Volumes Wane


A decrease in production of commercial vehicles and buses in 2016 contributed to a marginal drop in Japans total automobile output, and sales were down too, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The nations automakers manufactured 9.2 million automobiles last year, representing a drop of around 0.8 percent from the prior year, according to JAMAs annual report. Production of passenger cars increased slightly, to 7.9 million, while commercial vehicles dropped by 8.3 percent to 1.2 million units and buses dipped 5.9 percent. Motorcycle production rebounded, increasing 7.3 percent to 560,460 units.

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Domestic sales for all automobiles fell 1.5 percent to 4.9 million units, with passenger cars down 1.6 percent to just over 4 million units and trucks down around 1 percent to approximately 808,000 units. Sales of buses continued to show double-digit growth, increasing 15.8 percent to around 15,500 units. Imports of all vehicles including trucks and buses, actually increased 4.6 percent. Two-wheeler sales were not published in the report.

Around 4.6 million automobiles were exported, which made for a marginal overall increase comprised of more international passenger car sales but less shipments of trucks and buses. Sales increased nearly 11 percent within other Asian countries and 8.5 percent in North America, but plunged 20 percent in Africa.

Two-wheeler exports increased 2.6 percent to 428,619 units. Bikes with engine capacity of 250 cubic centimeters and above showed the largest increase in export volumes.Shipments to Europe were up 17.8 percent while sales to Asia, North America and Africa fell slightly.

JAMA opined that there are fewer young drivers in Japan and that vehicle taxes are excessive, which it said are the two main factors that influenced the decline in vehicle sales.

We need to continue to advocate for a reassessment of tax policies to solve the heavy burden of automobile users and attract … those from the shy-away from automobiles generation, said JAMA Chairman Nishikawa Hiroto in his 2016 year-end speech to members.

Due to the availability of other alternative forms of entertainment and commodities, in addition to a strong risk aversion attitude amongst Japanese [people] in their twenties and thirties, there is a shift away from automobiles, the NLI Research Institute said in a study, noting that Japans number of driving licenses have been falling.

In April, the Japanese government will implement a new, fuel efficiency-based tax scheme and consumption tax for motor vehicles.

Photo: Brent Wong / Fotolia

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