Japan Auto Sales Fell in 2020

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Japan Auto Sales Fell in 2020
A Sokuhai company dispatch rider in traffic at a junction in central Toyko. A Nihombashi train station entrance and a delivery truck are in the background. Motorcycle sales last year reached 328,346 in Japan last year, down 1%, according to the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association. © Ned Snowman / Shutterstock.com

New vehicle sales in Japan fell 12% to 4.6 million units in 2020, according to the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association. Sales were also down in the motorcycles segment.

The sales decline was in line with a slide in Japan’s gross domestic product, which shrank by 5.3% in 2020, the World Bank said in a Jan. 5 press release. The country’s GDP is forecast to grow by 2.5% this year.

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The number of new car registrations in the first half of 2020 appeared to reflect the impacts of the pandemic, with sales stabilizing later in the year. From January to July 2.2 million vehicles were sold, 21% less than in the same period of 2019. Sales for July and August amounted to 2.4 million, virtually unchanged from the same period of 2019.

New passenger car registrations slid 12% to 3.8 million vehicles. Standard size cars were down 12.5% at 1.4 million, small cars were down slightly at 1.1 million, and mini cars were down 13% at 1.3 million.

Truck sales were off by 11.5% at 779,300 units. Standard size trucks were down 12% at 160,678, small trucks were down 13% at 231,683, and mini trucks were down 10% at 386,989.

Sales of buses dropped 31% to 9,334 units.

Motorcycle sales last year totaled 328,346 in Japan last year, down 1%. Sales of motorcycles with engines 50 cc and under declined 7% to 122,416 in 2020, while sales of larger motorcycles with engines over 50cc reached 205,930, up 3%. The global economy is expected to expand 4% in 2021, assuming an initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout becomes widespread throughout the year. A recovery, however, will likely be subdued, unless policy makers move decisively to tame the pandemic and implement investment-enhancing reforms, the World Bank said in its January 2021 Global Economic Prospects.

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