April 27, 2007

Assisted-Mobility Vehicle Sales in Japan in Fiscal 2006:
A Small Decline from Previous Year for All Categories

Sales of assisted-mobility vehicles in Japan during fiscal year 2006 (ending March 31, 2007) totalled 40,369 units, a decrease of 4.5% from the previous year.  This was the fourth consecutive year, since fiscal 2003, that sales of these vehicles finished around the 40,000-unit mark.

With Japanese society “graying” at an ever more rapid pace, user interest in different types of assisted-mobility vehicles is on the rise.  Based on this and other factors, demand for these vehicles is expected to expand steadily over the coming years.

2006 Sales Data by Vehicle Category

1 Small-Size Vehicles—26,072 units (down 5.5% from fiscal 2005)
Although sales of vehicles equipped to accommodate wheelchairs (in firm demand from welfare-related transport services) exceeded 10,000 units for the second straight year, growth was sluggish for models with elevator or revolving seats, designed primarily for individual users.  As a result, overall sales for this category finished below the previous year’s level.  Nevertheless, with automakers set to expand their model variations in response to the growing diversity of user needs, demand for vehicles in this category is expected to grow.

2 Mini-Vehicles—8,934 units (down 3.4% from fiscal 2005)
Because of their reasonable price tags and easy handling, there is a consistent demand for these vehicles—particularly those models that are equipped for wheelchair use.  However, fiscal 2006 sales of elevator and revolving seat-equipped vehicles in this category slumped, owing to a number of factors including order-acceptance suspension periods accompanying model changes.  As a result, aggregate sales in this category dipped below the fiscal 2005 level.

3 Buses—5,363 units (down 1.3% from fiscal 2005)
So-called non-step (meaning low-floor) buses became immediately popular following their launch in 2004—a factor that promoted replacement purchases of large models of these assisted-mobility vehicles as route buses for use in public transport.  Following a major surge in demand for such buses in fiscal 2005, demand in fiscal 2006 dipped slightly as a consequence.


  • The figures provided here and in the accompanying charts are unit sales totals compiled by JAMA member companies.  They 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” includes microbuses; (2) “Small-size vehicles” includes small passenger cars and small van-type commercial vehicles; and (3) “Other” includes custom vehicles featuring stretcher-bearing equipment, revolving rear seats, etc.

[Data charts attached (PDF)]