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The Changing Japanese Auto Market

Despite Japan’s steady economic recovery, the domestic new-car market continues to level off, according to surveys conducted in fiscal 2006 (ending March 31, 2007) by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Survey results highlighted the following:

  • Since the 1990s, the percentage of older drivers has risen steadily, while distances travelled have decreased. Other trends include longer ownership of a passenger car and increases in used-car and smaller car purchases.

  • Behind the trends towards longer ownership and the decision not to own a car at all are consumer concerns about road congestion, costs associated with vehicle use, and safety risks.

  • The levelling-off in new car demand is a consequence of a combination of various socioeconomic factors including Japan’s aging population, the spread of urbanization, and shifting lifestyle priorities.

  • In mounting effective responses to this complex mix of factors, a critical area of focus will be to develop cars that have heightened product appeal.

  • To stimulate market demand, various specific objectives, such as generating greater use value through the fusion of information and services, should be pursued.



Japan's consumers start to become sensible in their new car purchasing, so with fear in their hearts the auto makers rush to save their precious profit growth by manipulating consumers into making irrational purchases and encouraging them to use personal transport more. Seems auto makers still think sustainability means sustaining profit levels and growth. I guess they'll learn the hard way, as we all will unless we really figure sustainability out.

George K

If only there were something… Something the auto makers could do to win back the public. Something that would grab peoples’ attentions as really new automotive technology (for OEMs, that is ). Something to make a car exciting to drive again. Something that could drastically reduce tailpipe emissions. Something that could reduce greenhouse gasses and at the same time, drastically reduce Japans frightening reliance on foreign oil. But what would we call it? How about fev. I like fev. How would we spell it? Phev.

Max Reid

Minivehicles which has 660 cc engine has captured around 33 % of the overall market.

A retired couple just needs a 4-seater vehicle and for this a mini vehicle is good enough.

So the regulars sedans continue to fall.

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