October 29, 2010

Assisted-Mobility Vehicle Sales in Japan
for First Half of Fiscal 2010 (April-September)

Sales of assisted-mobility vehicles in Japan during the first half of fiscal 2010 (April through September) totalled 17,330 units, up 14.6% from the same period in the previous year, for the first such increase in two years.

The needs of Japan’s graying population and social welfare programs have triggered a growing interest nationwide in assisted-mobility vehicles.  A further significant factor contributing to the rise in demand for these vehicles, which excel in environmental performance, was the decision to make them eligible for eco-vehicle tax breaks and purchasing subsidies.

April-September Sales Data by Vehicle Category

1.  Standard & Small-Size Vehicles—11,278 units (up 18.9% from first half of fiscal 2009)

Various factors, including the gain on the same period last year of sales of wheelchair-accessible models and models with revolving or elevator seats, helped push overall first-half-year demand for assisted-mobility vehicles in this category to the first increase since fiscal 2008.

2.  Mini-Vehicles—3,899 units (down 1.9% from first half of fiscal 2009)
    While demand for wheelchair-accessible models in this category increased in the first half of 2010, sales of models with revolving or elevator seats were down.  The overall result was a slight dip in demand in this vehicle category, marking the first such drop in three years, since the first half of fiscal 2007.

3.  Buses—2,513 units (up 29.7% from first half of fiscal 2009)
In addition to the impact of the eco-vehicle tax breaks and purchasing subsidies, there was also a last-minute surge in demand linked to the enforcement as of September of the so-called post-new long-term regulations on exhaust emissions.  In the end, this category showed the first year-on-year gain for the first half-year since fiscal 2006.


  1. The figures provided here and in the accompanying charts are the combined totals of JAMA member manufacturers’ unit sales; they do not include vehicles customized post-purchase.  (For example, although in the accompanying “by Category & Feature” chart the total first-half fiscal 2010 sales figure for vehicles equipped with drive-assist systems—including standard, small-size and mini-vehicles—is 513, total annual demand for vehicles so equipped is estimated at roughly 5,000).
  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-Size Vehicles” includes standard and small passenger cars and van-type commercial vehicles, and that “Buses” includes minibuses.
  3. Figures as of 2007 reflect the use of a new method for computing “Other” sales.

[Data charts attached (PDF)]