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.