Japan’s new vehicle market hopped by 12.9% to 548,209 units in September from 485,377 units in the previous year according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
While GDP growth in the country slowed sharply in the second quarter, to 1.2% year on year from 1.9% in the first quarter, reflecting mainly a sharp drop in exports, the domestic economy, including vehicle sales, was lifted ahead of a hike in the general sales tax rate from 8% to 10% at the beginning of October.
Total vehicle sales in the first nine months of the year were higher by 3.1% at 4,149,685 units from 4,023,606 units in the same period of last year, with truck sales rising by 8.0% to 697,490 units while bus sales were up by 4.9% at 11,036 units and passenger vehicle sales were 2.2% higher at 1,184,524 units.
Toyota sales rose by 6.9% to 1,215,999 units YTD, after declining by 5% in the whole of 2018, while Honda sales were up by 6.1% at 599,871 units, Suzuki was down to 543,924 (-1.0%); Daihatsu 521,510 units (+7.1%); Nissan 467,263 units (-4.8%); and Mazda 163,070 units (-6.1%).
The auto industry widely expects the Japanese domestic market to weaken in the fourth quarter of the year after many buyers brought forward their purchases into the third quarter ahead of a tax hike.