Japan’s Used Car Sales in Earthquake Zone Increase 60% in May 2011

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Now that 3 months has passed since the triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown hit the northeast of Japan, the Nikkei Shinbun (Japanese-language) is reporting that in the three prefectures (Japan’s equivalent of states) that were most severely affected, the demand for used regular cars is strong. (These figures are for standard passenger cars, and not for Japan’s city cars called kei cars.)

Although the nationwide increase in used car sales in May stood at 0.3%, this was by far eclipsed by sales in the earthquake zone that were 60% higher than the same period in the previous year.

There seems to be a strong connection between the amount of earthquake and tsunami damage sustained, and the demand for used cars. For example, of the three prefectures in question, Fukushima has suffered more from the nuclear emergency,which is perhaps why demand there is up 20%. On the other hand, Miyagi Prefecture that was hit hard by the tsunami has seen a staggering 2.1 times increase in demand for used cars over the previous year.

Although the demand for used cars in this northeastern corner in Japan is probably having some effect on the prices of cars in the used car auctions, the overall increase in used car registrations nationally of just 0.3% in May would seem to indicate that there has been a lessening of demand elsewhere in the country that has balanced this out.

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