April 28, 2011

Assisted-Mobility Vehicle Sales in Japan in Fiscal 2010

Sales of assisted-mobility vehicles in Japan in fiscal 2010 (ending March 31, 2011) totalled 34,601 units, up 0.7% from the previous year.

This slight rise over the number of these vehicles sold in fiscal 2009 reflects the positive impact of two factors: the Japanese government’s tax incentives and subsidies for purchases of eco-friendly (because highly fuel-efficient) vehicles, which include assisted-mobility models. Although the tax incentives remain in effect, the purchasing subsidies were terminated in September 2010.

2010 Sales Data by Vehicle Category

1. Standard & Small Vehicles—21,856 units (down 0.3% from fiscal 2009)
The sales performance of wheelchair-accessible models was superior to that of the previous year owing primarily to the replacement demand cycle. However, the decline in demand for models with revolving or elevator seats and those equipped with drive-assist systems resulted in a dip in overall sales in this category compared to the previous year.

2. Mini-Vehicles—8,703 units (up 6.6% from fiscal 2009)
Although demand for models with revolving or elevator seats and with drive-assist systems fell below that of the previous year, the strong appeal of models in the wheelchair-accessible lineup saw a surge in their demand. As a result, total sales in this category were up from the previous year’s level.

3. Buses—4,042 units (down 5.2% from fiscal 2009)
The termination of the purchasing subsidies for eco-friendly vehicles (including heavy-duty buses) in combination with the levelling-off of large-bus purchases in response to the enforcement of Japan’s “post-new long-term” regulations on heavy-duty vehicle emissions resulted in a year-on-year sales decline in this category for the fifth 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 2010 unit sales figure for vehicles equipped with drive-assist systems—including standard, small, and mini-size vehicles—is 979, 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 Vehicles 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/elevator 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)]