April 30, 2008

Assisted-Mobility Vehicle Sales in Japan in Fiscal 2007:
Sales in All Three Categories Down from Previous Year

Sales of assisted-mobility vehicles in Japan during fiscal year 2007 (ending March 31, 2008) totalled 36,822 units, a decrease of 8.8% from the previous year.

Over the past several years, as a result of demand among senior citizens, the enactment of “barrier-free” laws, improvements in transportation service and other trends, assisted-mobility vehicles have emerged as a stable market sector in Japan with the primary focus on low-floor buses, elevator seats for small- and mini-size vehicles, and vehicles equipped to accommodate wheelchairs. Nevertheless, with sluggish demand characterizing Japan’s domestic auto market overall, assisted-mobility vehicle sales in 2007 declined for the second consecutive year.

2007 Sales Data by Vehicle Category

1. Small-Size Vehicles—23,276 units (down 10.7% from fiscal 2006)
Production stoppages in this category occurred during the first half of fiscal 2007 as a result of legal revisions requiring increased seat strength and other modifications. The consequence was a sharp decline in sales of vehicles with elevator and revolving seats, which pulled down the final figures in this category for the second consecutive year.

2. Mini-Vehicles—8,352 units (down 6.5% from fiscal 2006)
There is a consistent demand for vehicles in this category—particularly for wheelchair-accessible models—because of their low sticker prices and easy handling. Nevertheless, and despite the slight gain recorded by models with revolving or elevator seats, the first half of 2007 saw a decline in sales of mini assisted-mobility vehicles compared to the same period in 2006. Because mini-vehicles are economical to own and operate, continued steady demand for assisted-mobility models in this category is expected.

3. Buses—5,194 units (down 3.2% from fiscal 2006)
Japan’s enactment of barrier-free laws having previously triggered significant vehicle-replacement purchases of large low-floor buses for use in public transport, demand in this category dipped last year. In the final tally, sales of assisted-mobility buses in fiscal 2007 posted a slight year-on-year decline for the second successive year.

Notes:

  1. The figures provided here and in the accompanying charts are unit sales totals compiled by JAMA member manufacturers. 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 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: (1) “Buses” includes minibuses; (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. As of 2007, figures in the first accompanying chart reflect the adoption of a new method for computing sales in the “Other” categories.

PDF[Data charts attached (PDF)]