Sales of new vehicles in Japan declined 9.3 percent in 2009 to 4.61 million units which is the first time the figures have slipped below the 5 million mark in 31 years and the figure represents a plunge of 40.7 percent from a peak of 7.78 million cars sold in 1990.
It was the 5th straight year of decline and it is thought that the trend for young people spurning cars and overall economic gloom has led to a shrinking vehicle market.
“As it is difficult to anticipate a fast recovery in car demand, the situation for the car industry is likely to remain severe for the immediate future,” an official of the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.
The news actually gets worse as sales of vehicles with engines larger than 660cc declined 9.1 percent to 2.92 million last year, falling below 3 million for the first time in 38 years and down for the 6th straight year, the association said.
Sales of smaller vehicles fell 9.7 percent to 1.69 million units, declining for the 3rd consecutive year, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association said.
Passenger car sales other than minicars decreased 5.7 percent to 2.64 million, including 1.48 million compact cars with engines of up to 2,000cc, down 4.5 percent, and 1.16 million larger vehicles, down 7.3 percent.
It wasn’t all bad news however as Lexus saw an 8.6 percent sales rise to 28,167 units on the strength of its popular gasoline-electric hybrid and Honda recorded a 0.2 percent increase. Sadly all other brands suffered sales drops.
Source: Japan Times