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Japan New-Auto Sales Drop To 25-Year Low In 1H2008

Nikkei. New-car sales in Japan dropped 2% in the first six months of 2008 to 2.78 million units, down for a third straight year and dropping to the lowest level since 1983.

Registered-vehicle sales, which covers autos with engines over 660cc—i.e., not mini-vehicles—declined 0.9% to 1.77 million units, marking a third consecutive drop for a first half to a 31-year low. Minivehicle sales fell for a second year, slumping 3.8% to 1.14 million units.

On top of consumers delaying new-car purchases as gasoline prices climb, some say there will be even more reasons for sluggish demand during the second half of 2008, with automakers considering hiking prices.

Comments

HarveyD

Is demotorization going to be a worldwide trend or is it limited to Japan?

Has personnal motorization hit such a saturation point that many Japanese prefer to use other means such a public transports, cycles, walking etc?

Would $12+/gal gas have a similar effect in USA? Probably not before much better-faster-safer public transports are in place.

Large gas guzzlers may go but three and four car famillies are here to stay for a long time.

garth

Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the world auto industry?

Richard

Not complicated. All are waiting for either a hybrid or an electric. Why purchase a vehicle that will become obsolete?

allen_xl_z

Part of this trend is the aging population and ever decreasing numbers of new drivers.

litesong

Hi Richard...Agree with your assessment of ICE. However, two of our ICE cars have hit 45+MPG(one car got 53MPG) with ranges over 500miles. So small efficient ICE will sell. With the collapse of truck & SUV sales in the auto industry, Honda is squeaking by with excellent sales in their small cars, & Hyundai Accents, which languished at 2-3000 sales, have exploded with 4000 & ~7000 sales the last 2 months.

Hi Harvey D, Garth, & Allen...Everyone looks at new vehicle sales & Allen looked at an aging population, but true 'demotorization' is occurring among the poor. Those poor who have no 'extra' money to pay extra fuel costs have already stopped driving. Those poor with 'extra' money to feed the bigger fuel bill, still are stopped dead when their car breaks down. Few people worried about this population segment, but this pop segment is leap-frogging upward in numbers now.

litesong

Hi Richard...Agree with your assessment of ICE. However, two of our ICE cars have hit 45+MPG(one car got 53MPG) with ranges over 500miles. So small efficient ICE will sell. With the collapse of truck & SUV sales in the auto industry, Honda is squeaking by with excellent sales in their small cars, & Hyundai Accents, which languished at 2-3000 sales, have exploded with 4000 & ~7000 sales the last 2 months.

Hi Harvey D, Garth, & Allen...Everyone looks at new vehicle sales & Allen looked at an aging population, but true 'demotorization' is occurring among the poor. Those poor who have no 'extra' money to pay extra fuel costs have already stopped driving. Those poor with 'extra' money to feed the bigger fuel bill, still are stopped dead when their car breaks down. Few people worried about this population segment, but this pop segment is leap-frogging upward in numbers now.

HarveyD

Richard, Allen & Litesong;

All very good points but high fuel cost did not seem to reduce driving that much in England and most other EU countries. Were they used to it?

The xx thousands, soon to be xx millions, in old age residences don't drive much anymore. Motorized (EV) chairs have replaced cars there.

Waiting for greener PHEVs and BEVs could be an important factor, specially in Japan, where it may happened sooner.

What is the lattest trend in Israel, Denmark and Portugal? Are they waiting for the BEVs arrival in 2010?

People are trying to buy small cars, but they can't make them fast enough. Many small and hybrid cars are supply limited right now, so that's why sales aren't going up.

Most people (aside from the ones reading such blogs) don't care about technology and aren't holding out for a PHEV or whatever.

litesong

Harvey D...Not sure why you addressed me, since you replied with no answer to my 'poor' post. As for my 'poor' post, I'm only talking ~ 1 or 2+% of the population 'demotorizing'. Quoting English & EU numbers, you may not note these very poor statistics unless you look for them, which most people don't look for.

Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Japan, and an assortment of other countries are all waiting for the BEVs arrival.

Once we see them made available, I suspect the switch will be huge and fast. *(fast as in how many they can make each year).

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