AAA weekly


Japan’s Imported Automobile Sales in the First Half of 2020

Japan’s automobile sales of imported foreign brands dropped 23.2% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period of 2019 to 114,000 units. Consumer sentiment declined in October 2019 due to the introduction of higher consumption tax. Monthly sales have been falling below the previous year’s level ever since. The outbreak of the new coronavirus has only made this tendency even worse. Sales of foreign brands dropped 13.1% in March 2020, 36.9% in April and 46.4% in May. The declaration of state of emergency in April and May pressured dealers to cease active sales activities and prompted consumers to stay home instead of visiting dealerships. The decrease in these two months exceeded that of November 2008 when sales plunged 36.7% due to the Lehman shock. Suspension of production in Europe and the United States had only a limited impact on sales as of May 2020. The Japan Automobile Importers Association believes that sales decline bottomed out in May and will improve from there on, judging from June’s 31.9% drop.

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