January 31, 2013

Forecast for Japan's Motor Vehicle Demand in Calendar Year 2013

Passenger Cars & Commercial Vehicles

  1.  Total Demand for Passenger Cars & Commercial Vehicles
    1. The first half of calendar year 2012 saw a surge in demand from the same period in the previous year (when demand plummeted as a consequence of the natural disasters on March 11), sparked by government tax incentive and purchasing subsidy programs for fuel-efficient eco-friendly vehicles. The second half of 2012 finished flat compared with the same period in the previous year, as a result of stagnant economic conditions and the termination of the subsidy programs at the end of September. Nevertheless, total demand for new passenger cars and commercial vehicles in 2012 stood at 5.37 million units, an increase of 27.5% over the previous year, with sales of passenger cars and CVs, excluding mini-vehicles, totalling 3.39 million units, up 26.1% from 2011, and sales of mini-vehicles finishing at 1.98 million units, up 30.1%.
    2. Demand in 2013 is projected to remain adversely affected by the termination of the aforementioned purchasing subsidies, notwithstanding the positive impacts of economic stimulus measures implemented by the government and the continuation of tax incentives for eco-friendly models.  As a result, total sales of new passenger cars and commercial vehicles are forecast at 4.74 million units, a decline of 11.7% from the previous year, with sales of passenger cars and CVs, excluding mini-vehicles, totalling 2.94 million units, down 13.2% from 2012, and sales of mini-vehicles expected to finish at 1.80 million units, down 9.3%.
  2. Standard & Small-Sized Passenger Cars
    1. Sales of standard and small-sized passenger cars in 2012 totalled 3.02 million units, a rise of 26.3% over the previous year, boosted by the government’s tax incentive and purchasing subsidy programs for fuel-efficient eco-friendly vehicles.
    2. Demand for standard and small-sized passenger cars in 2013 is forecast at 2.59 million units, down 14.2% from the previous year, owing largely to the termination of the aforementioned purchasing subsidies in September 2012.
  3. Mini Passenger Cars
    1. Sales of mini passenger cars in 2012 reached 1.56 million units, a surge of 36.8% over 2011.  In addition to the positive effects of the tax incentive and purchasing subsidy programs for eco-friendly vehicles, demand in this category was also boosted by new model launches.
    2. Despite the continued favorable impact of new models in the mini passenger car lineup, the termination of subsidies for eco-friendly vehicle purchases is expected to cause a drop in demand in this category to a projected 1.34 million units in 2013, a decline of 10.3% from 2012.

  4. Standard Trucks
    1. In 2012 tax incentives and purchasing subsidies for eco-friendly vehicles together with demand related to post-March 11, 2011 reconstruction activity pushed sales in this category up to 136,000 units, a gain of 27.1% over the previous year.  Of that total, demand for heavy- and medium-duty trucks reached 69,000 units, a rise of 30.3% over 2011.
    2. In 2013 the termination of the aforementioned purchasing subsidies will be the primary factor behind an anticipated decline in demand for standard trucks to 122,000 units, a drop of 10.5% from 2012.  Of that total, sales of heavy- and medium-duty trucks are forecast at 61,000 units, down 12.2% from 2012.
  5. Small Trucks
    1. Sales of small trucks in 2012 finished at 227,000 units, an increase of 22.8% from the previous year.  As with standard trucks, demand in this category was fuelled by the effects of tax cuts and subsidies for fuel-efficient eco-friendly vehicle purchases.
    2.  In the small truck category as well, the end of the purchasing subsidies will likely cause sales to slip in 2013, to a projected 224,000 units, down 1.5% from 2012.

  6. Mini-Trucks
    1. Mini-truck demand in 2012 was tracked at 422,000 units, up 10.3% from the previous year.  Notwithstanding the structural factors of steadily declining numbers of small retailers, farming households and other principal users of these trucks, demand in Tohoku and other regions where post-March 11, 2011 recovery activity is being carried out contributed to this gain.
    2. In 2013 the continued impact of the aforementioned structural factors is projected to help limit demand for mini-trucks to 399,000 units, down 5.4% from 2012.
  7. Large Buses
    1. The surge in demand for large buses in 2012, to 4,300 units or a 36.0% gain over the previous year, was attributable mainly to robust replacement demand in combination with the tax breaks and purchasing subsidies for eco-friendly vehicles.
    2. Sales in this category in 2013 are expected to dip to a projected 4,100 units, down 3.9% from 2012, owing to the structural factor of sustained sluggish growth in the number of passengers riding these buses outweighing replacement demand, in addition to the termination of the aforementioned tax and subsidy incentives.

  8. Small Buses
    1. Sales of small buses in 2012 climbed to 7,700 units, up 2.1% from 2011.  Despite the structural factor of sluggish growth in demand for transport in these buses, sales nevertheless exceeded their level in the previous year which was marked by a drastic decline following the natural disasters on March 11.
    2. With sluggish demand expected to continue in 2013, total annual sales in this category are projected at 7,300 units, down 4.8% from 2012.

Motorcycles

  1. Total Demand for Motorcycles
    1. Japan’s domestic motorcycle market continues to struggle in a prolonged slump.  Negative factors affecting the market include the chronic shortage of parking spaces in urban areas, higher vehicle prices stemming from mandatory compliance with new emissions regulations, and a shrinking model lineup.  Since 2010, however, efforts to offer products closely geared to consumer needs appear to be having some effect in slowing falling demand.  Nevertheless, in 2012 sales of motorcycles in Japan totalled 442,000 units, slipping 0.6% from the previous year, a decline that is attributable to shrinking demand for both Class-1 and Class-2 motor-driven cycles.
    2. In 2013 sales in the Class-2 motor-driven cycle category are projected to grow from their 2012 level and outweigh the declines forecast in the other motorcycle categories (Class-1 motor-driven cycles, mini-sized motorcycles, and small-sized motorcycles).  As a result, total domestic demand is forecast at 446,000 units, up 0.8% from 2012.
  2. Class-1 Motor-Driven Cycles (50cc & under)
    1. Sales of Class-1 motor-driven cycles in 2012 finished at 246,000 units, down 4.3% from 2011.  The visible stir created by the introduction of new models was not sufficient to offset the harsh market climate for these vehicles.
    2. In anticipation of a continuation of the aforementioned difficult climate, demand in this category in 2013 is forecast at 240,000 units, down 2.5% from 2012.

  3. Class-2 Motor-Driven Cycles (51cc-125cc)
    1. In 2012 sales of Class-2 motor-driven cycles were tracked at 90,000 units, down 5.7% from the previous year, attributable to the effects of new models having largely run their course.
    2.  In 2013, with the launch of new models closely attuned to consumer needs, sales in this category are projected to rise to 102,000 units, up 13% over 2012.

  4. Mini-Sized Motorcycles (126cc-250cc)
    1. Various factors, including a growth in demand for sports-type models and the introduction of new models stimulating consumer interest, helped raise sales in this category to 45,000 units, up 16.5% over 2011.
    2. In 2013, with demand for sports-type models expected to remain flat, total sales of mini-sized motorcycles are projected to slip 0.7%, to roughly 45,000 units, from the 2012 level.

  5. Small-Sized Motorcycles (over 250cc)
    1. Demand triggered by new products closely targeting consumer needs and an expansion of the model lineup in this category contributed to a final sales tally of 61,000 units in 2012, up 13.8% from the previous year.
    2. In 2013 anticipated sustained demand for small-sized motorcycles will be outweighed by the severity of the employment and income situation in Japan, resulting in a decline in sales in this category to 59,000 units, down 2.8% from 2012.

[Data chart attached (PDF)]