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Japan’s Imported Vehicle Market Shrinks 8.7% to 318,000 Units in 2020

The number of imported vehicles sold in Japan in 2020 decreased 8.7% from the previous year to 318,000 units, going down for the second consecutive year. Due to the consumption tax hike and the outbreak of COVID-19, sales fell below the previous year’s results for the first nine consecutive months, but sales increased in the final three months of 2020. German brands, which account for over 50% of all imported vehicle sales, as well as Swedish and UK brands declined double digits. The rate of decline of Italian brands was only 7.4% thanks to rising sales of Porsche and Ferrari despite the pandemic. On the other hand, Japanese brands increased 26.5% to 62,000 units, and French brands rose 0.9% to 23,000 units, exceeding the previous year’s results. Japanese brands increased sharply thanks to the launch of the imported Nissan Kicks and Honda Accord in the first half of 2020. Both models are manufactured in Thailand.

Looking at sales results of foreign brands, Mercedes-Benz declined 14.3% to 57,000 units, but it remained on top for the sixth consecutive year. VW declined 21.8% to 37,000 units and BMW dropped 23.7% to 36,000 units, VW surpassing BMW to take second position for the first time in two years. However, the market share of all three brands dropped. Mercedes-Benz decreased 2.8pp, VW fell 3.0pp and BMW declined 3.2pp. Among the top 10 foreign brands, Jeep, Peugeot and Porsche increased sales. Jeep went up 1.7% to 14,000 units and Porsche rose 1.3% to 7,284 units, both achieving record high sales. Jeep intends to expand its sales network to increase sales to 15,000 units in 2021 and 20,000 units in 2023.

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