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Japan’s Automobile Exports in YTD June 2021

New vehicle exports from Japan have been around 4.5 million units in recent years, but in 2020, due to the impact of the new coronavirus, volume decreased by more than 20% from the previous year, falling below 4 million units to 3.58 million units for the first time in the past 10 years. In the first half of 2021, exports rose to 1.88 million units, up 21.9% year-on-year. Although the infection situation is still uncertain, recovery is expected because most of the destinations for passenger vehicles, which account for more than 90% of vehicle exports, are developed countries where vaccination is progressing. Looking at the exports by powertrain type, gasoline vehicles accounted for the largest proportion with 68.0%, followed by HEVs with 19.0% and diesel vehicles with 8.4%. The proportion of HEVs has risen by more than 9 pp in the last five years in response to global demand for electrification. In addition, exports of BEVs and PHEVs are also increasing. In the passenger vehicle segment, BEV exports rose 3.3-fold in 2020 despite the sharp decline in overall exports.

Declining KD exports

Looking at the status of KD exports over the past 10 years, it peaked at 350,000 sets in 2011 and have been on a downward trend ever since. In 2020, in which year exports were also affected by the pandemic, volume fell below 150,000 sets. The general decline is attributed to growing local production at export destinations. Looking at exports by vehicle type, passenger vehicle exports were higher than cargo vehicle exports until 2012, but the trend reversed in 2013. In the first six months of 2021, cargo vehicles accounted for more than 60% of all vehicle exports.

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