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Import Auto Sales Rise in Japan

TOKYO - Sales of imported vehicles in Japan rose 1.3 percent in February from the same month a year ago, with Japanese models manufactured abroad by Toyota Motor Corp. (news - web sites) marking nearly a four-fold increase, an industry group said Thursday.

A total of 20,853 vehicles - 20,613 passenger cars, 234 trucks and six buses - were sold last month, compared with 20,595 units sold in February of 2003, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said.

Largely responsible for the rise were imports of Japanese models manufactured abroad, including Toyota's Avensis and Honda Motor Co. (news - web sites)'s Fit Aria, which surged 64.7 percent to 3,065 units.

An association spokesman, Yasuhiko Yokota, said special low interest rate loans for buyers offered by some major importers and Toyota's snappy sales combined to boost February sales.

Imports of non-Japanese producers fell 5.0 percent to 17,788 vehicles in February, after a 4.6 percent slip in January, the association said.

German automakers took more than half of the import car market share in February.

Volkswagen topped the ranking at 4,492 vehicles, down 7.5 percent from a year ago, for a market share of 21.54 percent. Mercedes-Benz - produced by DaimlerChrysler - came in second with 3,518 vehicles, up 1.9 percent. It had a 16.87 percent share of the market. BMW took 12.20 percent of the Japanese market with 2,545 vehicles, up 12.5 percent.

Among U.S. automakers, Chrysler was the top-seller at 480 vehicles, down 23.2 percent, for a market share of 2.30 percent. Ford Motor Co. had a 2.07 percent share with 431 vehicles sold, up 9.4 percent. Chevrolet for General Motors Corp. sold 175 vehicles for a 0.84 percent share.

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Such a small imported marketplace in Japan. When you consider how many fine cars are made around the globe, it proves how xenophobic and protective the Japanese are when it comes to cars.
 
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Wow, only 200 vehicles for GM ?!! The largest producer worldwide ?!!!

Getting into the Japanese market is just principle. The US is by far the largest market. That's why what we do with our money is very important. We are selling our souls as a country at the altar of 'globalism'.

<_< <_< <_<
 

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Europeans are almost as bed (e.g. the best selling cars in France are French, in Germany are German, etc.). Same with Korean cars in Korea, etc.

IMHO it's to the advantage of North American consumers and companies that we buy what's best regardless of where it comes from. Makes our economy and companies more competative.
 

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I feel that protectionism in Japan is not the real problem.
The American products that have been offered to the Japanese consumer have not met there expectations.
GM has failed to understand that market.
 
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