2010 Record Year for Japan’s New Car Sales

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, January 6th, 2011

2010 proved to be a record year for new car sales in Japan. To a great extent this was stimulated by a tax break for purchasing “eco-friendly” cars, which resulted in the Prius leap-frogging to the top of the sales charts.

As an aside, I must admit to a degree of cynicism in regard to the supposedly altruistic basis of this tax break: After all, when you think of who are the major producers of hybrids and very low capacity city cars – Kei Cars – the list you end up with is populated almost entirely by Japanese manufactures. Sure the environment may have benefited, but I don’t think it is coincidental that large corporations hurting from the economic downturn also got something more than warm fuzzies out of it.

This tax break has had a corresponding negative effect on the world of the car auctions in Japan. After all, this was basically a cash-for-clunkers scheme, so in order to get the tax break, the trade-in vehicle had to be taken off the road. A lot of vehicles that would have ended up in the auctions under normal conditions were thus taken out of circulation. As a Japanese car exporter, I can say that we are happy that this scheme is now over and we expect that as we get back into the higher volume months in the Spring that we will be seeing a greater number and variety of vehicles available in the car auctions in Japan.

(Source: AFP)

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