October 26, 2005

Assisted-Mobility Vehicle Sales in Japan in 2005
~ First Half of Fiscal 2005 (April-September) ~

Sales of “assisted-mobility vehicles” in Japan during the first half of fiscal year 2005 (April-September) totalled 19,727 units, up 2.0% from the same period in the previous year.This type of vehicle includes small-size vehicles, mini-vehicles and buses outfitted with assisted-mobility functions.

The rising interest in assisted-mobility vehicles is explained by Japan’s rapidly graying society, and strong growth in their demand is projected in the years ahead.

<Sales Data by Vehicle Type>

(1) Small-Size Vehicles
Sales of small assisted-mobility vehicles in the first half of fiscal 2005 totalled 13,276 units, up 2.2% over the same period a year earlier. High sales levels were recorded in 2003 in this category for vehicles equipped with revolving or elevator seats and for wheelchair-accessible vehicles, resulting in a small downturn in sales in 2004. The growth recorded thus far in fiscal 2005 reflects the impact of new models released in 2004.

(2) Mini-Vehicles
Sales in this category totalled 4,149 units for the period, a dip of 0.5% from the first half of fiscal 2004, a continuing aftereffect of the strong growth in assisted-mobility mini-vehicle sales in 2003. Nevertheless, mini-vehicles as a whole offer the advantages of easy handling and low sticker prices, and the popularity of assisted-mobility mini-vehicles—especially those that are wheelchair-accessible—remains buoyant.

(3) Buses
A total of 2,302 assisted-mobility buses were sold in the first half of fiscal 2005, a respectable gain of 5.7% over the same period in 2004. Demand for replacement vehicles in this category surged in 2003 in response to the introduction of national legislation limiting NOx and PM tailpipe emissions in major metropolitan areas from 2002 and the enforcement of similar ordinances in the greater Tokyo region, setting the stage for a significant decline in sales of these buses in 2004. Firm demand for assisted-mobility buses in the public transport sector accounts for the upswing in their sales in the current fiscal year.


  1. The statistics provided here are based on unit sales data obtainable from JAMA member manufacturers, and thus do not include vehicles that have been remodelled at the initiative of individual vehicle owners.
    The market for vehicles equipped with drive-assist systems is estimated at roughly 5,000 units (including vehicles remodelled at the initiative of individual vehicle owners, for which data is unavailable from JAMA or its member manufacturers).
  2. The assisted-mobility vehicle categories listed here have been established by JAMA on the basis of equipment standards, and therefore differ from the vehicle categories established under Japan’s Road Vehicles Act. Note that: (a) The “buses” category includes microbuses, (b) “Small-size vehicles” include small passenger cars, small van-type commercial vehicles, and (c) “Other” includes customized vehicles (order-made cars), stretcher-bearing, revolving rear seats, etc.

PDF[Data charts attached (PDF)]