March 31, 2005

Passenger Car and Truck Market Trends
-Results of JAMA's Fiscal 2004 Surveys-

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has published the results of its passenger car market trend surveys, standard truck market trend surveys, and small and mini truck market trend surveys, all of which were implemented in fiscal 2004.

JAMA conducted these surveys to better understand the qualitative shifts in demand in the passenger car and three truck market segments. In questionnaire format, the passenger car surveys targeted households throughout Japan, while the truck market surveys targeted businesses (including freight transport companies) and other truck users.

Surveys on passenger car use and truck use are conducted regularly once every two years—in even-numbered years for the three truck market segments and in odd-numbered years for passenger cars—to generate basic market trend data. However, the passenger car surveys reported on here included special surveys conducted in 2004 in a new format (see details below) to complement a retabulation of the results of the regular survey conducted in 2003.

Descriptions and results of these market trend surveys are summarized below.

Passenger Car Market Trend Surveys:

  • On the basis of data collected in the 2003 survey (5,298 samples), trends in passenger car use, and in passenger car use by women drivers specifically, were analyzed.
  • Results indicate that factors behind the rise in the number of elderly drivers (65 years or older) include an overall growth in the rate of car ownership among women drivers (from 70% to 80% over the past 10 years) as well as (during that same 10-year period) an overall growth in the number of women who are principal, as opposed to secondary, drivers. In other words, the number of women who drive regularly and the number of women who own cars are both steadily increasing.
  • A special survey, conducted on the Internet (2,424 samples), targeted women car owners, seeking to better understand the criteria women applied when purchasing their cars.
  • Results suggest that, in order for car models to have greater appeal to women in future, important criteria will include enhanced vehicle safety and functionality as well as comfort and convenience of use, in addition to styling and design criteria.

Standard Truck Market Trend Surveys:

  • A nationwide survey aimed at businesses and individuals owning standard trucks (1,003 samples), together with a survey targeting freight transport in the construction, manufacturing, retail sales and other sectors in the high-density, greater Tokyo and Osaka regions and Shizuoka and Aichi prefectures (374 samples), were used to analyze the impact on market trends of environmental and safety measures and other changes introduced in the transport sector.
  • Results indicate that nearly 50% of freight transport companies were affected by the National Motor Vehicle NOx & PM Emissions Act, by restrictions on large diesel vehicle access to designated cities, and by other measures promoting improved air quality. In that group, close to 80% of the companies said they had responded by making replacement purchases of new vehicles to comply with the regulations in force.In addition, it was determined that 70% of freight transport companies have established in-house safe-driving programs.

Small & Mini Truck Market Trend Surveys:

  • These surveys included one nationwide survey targeting small and mini truck owners/users (1,832 samples) and another survey aimed at businesses with at least five employees located within either a 50-km radius of Metropolitan Tokyo or a 30-km radius of Osaka or Nagoya (866 samples). The purpose here was to try to size up the market response to changes taking place in the social environment.
  • Results indicate no major shifts in the hiring rates of either “senior” (65 or over) or women drivers. Elderly drivers earned high marks for their “experience,” while women drivers were credited for their professional “scrupulousness” and safe-driving practices. In the agricultural sector, results indicate a decline in the number of part-time farmers and an increase in the average age of drivers using trucks or vans for agricultural purposes.

Survey reports are available from JAMA and summaries thereof are posted on the JAMA Web site (in Japanese only) at:

(For passenger cars:)
(For standard trucks:)
(For small & mini trucks:)