Issue No. 1, 2006
Forecast for 2006
Spurred on by a Japanese economy showing encouraging signs of revival, 2006 is shaping up to be the best year for new car sales in
Japanese buyers will be out shopping for 5.93 million new vehicles this year, according to a recent forecast from JAMA. That would make 2006 the strongest year since 2000 when all vehicle registrations in
Driving the market, of course, will be an ongoing flow of new model introductions from Japanese domestic makers and importers. Just to give you an idea, in January alone there were no fewer than eight all-new model intros from Toyota, Daihatsu, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Mercedes Benz and VW here in Tokyo.
Lexus, Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Honda, in turn, are on track to launch new or refreshed models over the next few months to keep the action piping hot. With trucks/commercials and Japan’s unique breed of 660 cc minicars set to bring in big numbers too, come the end of December, JAMA’s analysts expect the market as a whole to be up 0.5% over calendar 2005 to reach that 5.93 million mark.
Breaking that down. JAMA’s forecast has
Trucks overall are forecast to reach the 1.11 million unit level (+ 1.6%) in anticipation of a continuing business recovery and the need to comply with new, tighter vehicle emissions. . Buses are expected to be flat at 18,000 units for the year.
The Japanese domestic market which is famously fast moving is especially keen right now on minivans and small 1.3-1.5-litre superminis and wagons. At the very top end of the market, the domestic launch of Lexus last summer is reportedly bringing new zest to luxury car sales across the board. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 660 cc minicar market continues to rev up as new, improved models come on the scene and some buyers are downsizing, attracted by the minis’ inherently simple, low cost appeal.
Assuming no major bumps in the economic road ahead (although nothing is ever guaranteed), 2006 should be a solid year for growth in
And if things go really well, we might even see 6 million units. Then it really would be time to break out the champagne.