April 2012

Passenger Car Market Trends in Japan: Summary of Results of JAMA's Fiscal 2011 Survey

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) is pleased to release the results of the survey it conducted in fiscal year 2011 (ending March 31, 2012) on passenger car use in Japan.  Targeting households nationwide, JAMA conducts this survey in odd-numbered years in order to determine ownership and use trends and, on that basis, forecast future demand structure.

Basic description of the fiscal 2011 passenger car survey:

Survey target

Households (including single-person households)

Survey area


Valid responses

3,848 (36.8% response rate)

Survey period

September 6-October 4, 2011

Principal findings:

  • Passenger car ownership among responding households stood at 77.5%, extending the trend, since 1999, of remaining under 80%.
  • Multiple passenger car ownership among the households stood at 41.8%.  This figure has remained more or less around 40% since 2001.  Another continuing trend is that of longer passenger car ownership periods, with responses to the latest survey showing periods of ownership (of vehicles owned prior to current ones) in excess of seven years for nearly 60% of the respondents.
  • The market shares of standard-sized passenger cars (including mid-sized and large models) and small-sized passenger cars continued to decline, while the share of mini-sized passenger cars continued to increase.  Also maintained, since the fiscal 2009 passenger car survey, was the shift to purchases of smaller, lower-end models.
  • Among non-owner households, in cases where barriers to ownership (such as unaffordability or lack of a driver’s license) did not apply, 32% of respondents indicated their desire to own a car.  This figure is particularly high (exceeding 70%) among single persons to whom the aforementioned barriers did not apply.
  • Although awareness of the availability of alternative-energy vehicles in the market stood at over 90% of survey respondents for electric vehicles (EVs) and at just below 40% for plug-in hybrids (PHVs), purchasing intent for both vehicle types was tracked at somewhat over 10%.  Major barriers to the purchase of such vehicles included, for EVs, high vehicle prices, a limited network of recharging stations, and a short travel range; for PHVs, the primary barrier to vehicle purchase was high vehicle prices. 

Complete survey results are posted online, in Japanese only, at www.jama.or.jp/.