Japan New Car Sales Crash in April 2011

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

As expected, Japan’s new car sales took a nose dive in April 2011, as the shock of the earthquake that hit Japan in March was combined with the lack of supply caused by damage to the parts supply chain, resulting in a big drop off in new car production. This fall of 47.3% over the same period in 2010 was the worst on record since records began in 1968. This beats March’s sales slump, which was the previous record-holder.

The biggest loser in this was Toyota, who saw sales drop by a massive 68.7%.

Dealerships are reporting that they basically shut down from around the middle of April as there were not enough cars left to meet demand. Toyota’s recently-launched Prius Alpha (a minivan based on the best-selling Prius) is running into trouble as dealers are reporting that they are getting order forms but are being told that production will not be getting back to normal until the end of the year.

The lack of availability of new cars, coupled with the strong demand for cars to replace those destroyed in the earthquake as resulted in the “light” (kei) used car market seeing growth of 3.1% in March.

Source: Mainichi Shinbun (Japanese-language)

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