Japan’s Used Car Registrations Drop in 2010

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

I am a little surprised by this, as I had been thinking that the used car market would have seen a degree of recovery as a result of the ending of the EcoCar new car buyer incentive scheme in autumn of 2010. However, used car sales are still dropping in Japan – although at a lower rate than new car sales.

What this points to is a low level of demand for cars in general in Japan – whether new or used. It could also be due to the continuing effects of the EcoCar program. This scheme required traded in cars to be disposed of, rather than cycled through into the used car market. Right after this incentive was removed, new car sales plummeted in Japan, so although more trade-in vehicles are passing through into the used car auctions and to used car dealers, the numbers are still lower than in the past.

The figures for 2010 used car registrations for regular passenger cars was 1.4% down, and at the lowest level since records started being collected in 1978. This decline has been going on for the last 5 years, and the earthquake in March is not likely to help as the depressed economy is likely to create lower levels of demand. So although 2011 figures will be free of the effects of the EcoCar scheme, the damage caused by the earthquake is likely to result in 2011 numbers that are at best on par with 2010.

However, as I mentioned the other day, if you are thinking of getting used cars from Japan’s car auctions, you can still be assured that there are good numbers to choose from – 3.5 to 4 million used vehicles are still passing through each year.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese-language)

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