Most people have noticed that there have been several wild swings in the North American auto markets lately. A good deal of the reporting has focused on smaller vehicles. With fuel prices rising, this makes some sense. However, fewer individuals may have noticed recent huge gains in the Japanese auto market. These numbers are equally as important. Japan has one of the largest economies in the entire world.
Outside of mini sized vehicles, sales jumped 66.3 percent in the month of May. Any vehicle with an engine around 660 cc was defined as a mini vehicle in the study. The Japan Automobile Dealers Association announced on Friday that sales were up almost two thirds over May 2011. New vehicle sales were around 236,366 sold. Toyota‘s sales jumped over two-fold. Honda saw gains around 48.3 percent. Even Nissan saw modest gains at 17.4 percent. Sale of new trucks totaled 24,812.
Newspapers carried chilling headlines about last year’s earthquake and tsunami. The Japanese economy seemed completely crushed, and countless other crises resulted. However, things seem to certainly be looking up compared to last year. Times are still tough. Recovering from such a disaster is extremely difficult. Moreover, the economy still looks weak all over the world.
These numbers are something of a testament, however. They show a great resolve and the strength to turn a situation around. Strangely enough, a few automakers actually saw their sales take a step backwards in May.
Mitsubishi sold 3,486 vehicles in Japan. That is a 14.1 percent reduction over the previous year. The Fuji Heavy brand sold 5,492 vehicles, which is a 2.3 percent reduction over 2011. On the other hand, import marquees did fairly well. 20,814 foreign cars were sold, which is an 8.2 percent jump. The vast majority of vehicles sold were cars. With automobile ownership at high levels in Japan, one might imagine that at least some of these new car sales were replacements for worn out clunkers.
Some people might find these statistics interesting from an international point of view. Japanese automakers are truly worldwide firms. They often make vehicles all over the world. Factories in the United States, United Kingdom and numerous other countries churn out cars that end up in just as many markets. Japanese dealerships sometimes sell Japanese vehicles that were actually manufactured in other countries. That could certainly be taken as good news for anyone who works at a local factory.