April 28, 2006

Assisted-Mobility Vehicle Sales in Japan in Fiscal 2005
Bus Category Rebounds for Solid Growth Over Previous Year

Sales of assisted-mobility vehicles in Japan during fiscal year 2005 (ending March 31, 2006) totalled 42,223 units, an increase of 1.5% over the previous year.  Included in this total are sales of small-size vehicles, mini-vehicles and buses outfitted with assisted-mobility features.

Against the backdrop of Japan’s rapidly “graying” population, user interest in assisted-mobility vehicles is on the rise, and further growth in the demand for these vehicles is projected for the years ahead.

2005 Sales Data by Vehicle Type

(1) Small-Size Vehicles—27,539 units (up 0.1% from fiscal 2004)
Sales of vehicles in this category with elevator seats or equipped to accommodate wheelchairs posted solid growth in 2005, but sales of vehicles with rotating seats were sluggish.   As a result, overall sales for this category remained at about the same level as in fiscal 2004.  Nevertheless, with automakers preparing to introduce new and more user-friendly models, business as well as private demand for vehicles in this category is expected to grow.

(2) Mini-Vehicles—9,250 units (down 2.5% from fiscal 2004)
Vehicles in this category have become popular on the strength of their reasonable price tags and easy handling, and many of them have been purchased to offer transport services for wheelchair users.   Fiscal 2005 witnessed a drop in demand for models equipped with elevator and revolving seats, owing to, among other factors, extended periods of production suspension resulting from shifts in manufacturing quotas.  In the end, sales finished slightly below the fiscal 2004 level.

(3) Buses—5,434 units (up 17.7% from fiscal 2004)
Sales of assisted-mobility buses surged in fiscal 2003, driven by replacement demand for vehicles complying with Japan’s Motor Vehicle NOx & PM Emissions Act regulating nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions, related ordinances introduced in the greater Tokyo region and other legislation passed the previous year.  While fiscal 2004 produced a reactionary downturn from this gain, 2005 brought a major recovery in demand.  One factor behind this rebound is the growing use of low-floor large route buses in public transport.

Notes:

  • The figures provided here are unit sales totals compiled by JAMA member companies, and do not include customized 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 companies).
  • 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: (1) “Buses” include microbuses; (2) “Small-size vehicles” include small passenger cars and small van-type commercial vehicles; and (3) “Other” includes custom vehicles featuring stretcher-bearing equipment, revolving rear seats, etc.

PDF[Data charts attached (PDF)]