Japanese January Sales Lowest in 37 Years

Despite some rumors claiming the Japanese automotive industry is less affected by the economic downturn, new car sales in Japan reached the lowest point in 37 years in January, according to Reuters quoting the Japan Automobile Dealers. Excluding mini cars with engine displacement around 660cc, sales recorded by Japanese companies were down 27.9 percent in January to 174,281 units, the source added. This means it was the worst January in 37 years when it comes to new car sales in the Japanese market.

The largest Japanese automaker and the world's number one car manufacturer Toyota recorded 22.5 percent lowered sales, excluding the Lexus brand, Reuters wrote, while other domestic companies experienced even higher drops in sales. The best example comes from Mitsubishi Motors, which reported a decline in sales of no less than 53.9 percent in January 2009.

New car sales in January totaled 174,281 units, with Toyota Motor delivering 83,255 vehicles to Japanese buyers. This means it recorded a 23.4 percent drop this month. On the other hand, Nissan Motor sold 30,786 new cars (31.1 percent drop) followed by Honda Motor with 22,087 (30.7 percent decline) and Mazda Motor with 10,701 (34.5 percent decrease).

Analysts repeatedly insisted that concentrating on small-displacement engines and fuel-efficient models is the only way to get out of the economic crisis but, given the aforementioned figures, even such a strategy would be useless, according to new forecasts. Yun Tae-sik, auto analyst at Dongbu Securities, told Reuters that it is extremely difficult to revamp sales after such a weak month, with figures way behind initial forecasts.

"The January figures are worse than expected, confirming expectations that their car sales may fall by double-digit rates in the first quarter. Nothing, even a softer won and smaller cars, can reverse the current global slump,” he said.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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