Toyota tops 50% in Japan

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 1, 2007

It’s been a long time coming but auto sales in Japan have, at least temporarily, stopped falling. Auto sales, excluding mini vehicles, rose 2% to 269,221 in October, the first monthly rise, year-on year, since June 2005.

Predictably, Toyota takes the credit for the October turnaround. Toyota and affiliates grew sales 6% to 138,000 units. Remarkably, when yet-to-be-announced minicar sales from its Daihatsu arm are added, Toyota’s overall market share top 50% for the first time. The company’s previous best month for Japan market share was 49.6% in November 2006. That should please Toyoda family scion Akio Toyoda, who was given the unenviable task of boosting Japan sales earlier this year.

Toyoda can thank a healthy pipeline of new models for the record breaking market share. This year, Toyota has launched a new vehicle in Japan every month since May, including a new Land Cruiser SUV in September and the boxy Corolla Rumion, a hatchback only for Japan, last month.

Still, there’s little reason for celebration at Toyota or other Japanese carmakers just yet. Japan, the world’s third largest car market after the U.S. and China, remains on course for one of its worst years for auto sales in generation and will almost certainly sell fewer cars than last year, itself the worst in 20 years. What’s more, many analysts expect the downwards sales trend to resume before too long.

Reader Comments

mark

November 1, 2007 8:35 PM

When Japanese people use trains for commuting and this type of transportation is convenient without worry of parking lot and parking fee. Land price is still high for people to save a space for a garage. When people have more time to enjoy driving to countryside, or they spend time of driving in rush-hour, they can decide to own one. Car makers somehow understand those factors to design their car sizes and marketing their products in each city - population, traffic peak hours.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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