April 30, 2010

Assisted-Mobility Vehicle Sales in Japan in Fiscal 2009

Sales of assisted-mobility vehicles in Japan during fiscal 2009 (ending March 31, 2010) totalled 34,298 units, slipping 2.1% from the previous year.

Sales in this market segment rose in the second half of the year, boosted by such factors as the tax cuts and subsidy programs in effect for purchases of highly fuel-efficient vehicles (among which some were assisted-mobility models). Overall, however, the impact of those factors was insufficient to compensate for the slump in demand that accompanied the economic downturn. The end result was a fourth successive year of declining sales of these vehicles.

2009 Sales Data by Vehicle Category

1. Standard & Small Vehicles—21,925 units (down 1.2% from fiscal 2008)
The sales performance of wheelchair-accessible models was superior to that of the previous year, bolstered most notably by higher demand for shuttle use by nursing-care facilities. However, the decline in demand for models with revolving or elevator seats—a category defined by comparatively higher personal use—pulled down the overall total. The bottom line was a decline in sales in this category for the fourth straight year.

2. Mini-Vehicles—8,111 units (down 0.8% from fiscal 2008)
Although demand for wheelchair-accessible models in this category was on a par with the previous year, a slight decline was recorded in sales of revolving/elevator seat-equipped models. As a result, total sales in this category finished below the previous year’s level for the sixth year in a row.

3. Buses—4,262 units (down 8.6% from fiscal 2008)
Replacement demand for large assisted-mobility buses for use in public transport dipped in fiscal 2009, reflecting, among other negative factors, a slump in bus riders as a result of the recession. The final result was a year-on-year sales decline in this category for the fourth consecutive year.


  1. The figures provided here and in the accompanying charts are the aggregate totals of JAMA member manufacturers’ unit sales; they do not include vehicles customized post-purchase. (For example, although in the accompanying “Summary” chart the total fiscal 2009 unit sales figure for vehicles equipped with drive-assist systems—including standard, small, and mini-size vehicles—is 1,105, annual demand for vehicles so equipped stands in fact at around 5,000 units when vehicles customized post-purchase are included in the calculation.)
  2. The three 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 Vehicle Act. The main differences are that “Standard & Small Vehicles” includes standard and small passenger cars and van-type commercial vehicles, and that “Buses” includes minibuses. Note also that “Other” in the accompanying “Summary” chart includes stretcher-bearing vehicles, etc., but since 2007 no longer includes vehicles equipped with revolving seats or drive-assist systems. Those vehicles have been reclassified into the “Revolving/Elevator seats” and “Drive-assist system” subcategories, respectively.

PDF[Data charts attached (PDF)]