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Japan January 2018: Nissan Note #1, Mazda CX-8 and Nissan Leaf shine

The Nissan Note is the best-selling car in Japan this month. Pictures autoc-one.jp

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 35 kei cars *

* See the Top 52 All-brands and Top 30 cars by clicking on the title *

The Japanese new car market edges down 0.5% year-on-year in January to 399.540 registrations, with the two best-selling brands in negative: Toyota drops 6.5% to 26.7% share vs. 30.3% over the Full Year 2017 and Honda is down 5.2% to 14.1%, albeit slightly better than the 13.8% it held in FY2017. Below is a string of four manufacturers gaining ground on a year ago: Nissan (+0.9%), Daihatsu (+11.3%), Suzuki (+5.4%) and Mazda (+4.5%). Lexus (+59.7%) and Mitsubishi (+13.4%) post the biggest year-on-year gains in the Top 10 while Subaru (-21.7%) endures the largest drop. Mercedes (+2.5%) remains the most popular foreign carmakers but drops four spots on December to #12, followed at a distance by Volkswagen (-10.8%), BMW (-19.5%) and Audi (-8.6%). Peugeot (+89%), Aston Martin (+78.6%), Chevrolet (+54.5%), Ferrari (+51.2%), Renault (+29.6%), Bentley (+21.4%) and Jeep (+20.5%) are the most dynamic further down the ranking.

The 2nd gen Nissan Leaf has already ranked inside the Top 30 three times vs. twice for the 1st gen.

Over in the regular car aisle, the Nissan Note returns to #1 for the first time since last September and the 6th in total for this generation, starting in November 2016. This month it has a 3.180 sales-advantage over the Toyota Prius, its largest gap on the #2 so far. The Toyota Voxy (+14%), Honda Fit (+12%) and Toyota Aqua (+6%) post robust gains while the Toyota Roomy (+5%) and Tank (+6%) tandem of twins continues to impress, adding up to 12.253 sales which would place them in 2nd position overall. It’s a bad month for SUVs: all leaders in the segment fall flat in January: the Toyota C-HR (-40%), Harrier (-31%) and Honda Vezel (-43%).

First Top 30 ranking for the all-new Mazda CX-8, now the brand’s best-selling SUV.

One SUV that has started its career flamboyantly is the Mazda CX-8 breaking into the Top 30 for the first time at #25. The Toyota Land Cruiser continues to feel the effects of its facelift, up 70% to #29 while the Camry is on another planet vs. the previous model: +966% to #30. But the hero of the month is the Nissan Leaf: up 163% on the previous gen to #19, its highest ranking at home also hit last October. It is the Leaf’s fifth time ever inside the monthly Top 30, including three for this gen – October 2017 (#19), December 2017 (#27) and January 2018 (#19) and two for the first gen – February 2011 (#25) and January 2016 (#28).

Suzuki Wagon R sales are up 251% year-on-year thanks to a new generation.

In the kei cars aisle, the Honda N-BOX (+9%) remains dominant, but this month it is followed by the Nissan Dayz (+31%) and Daihatsu Tanto (-8%) while the Daihatsu Move, #2 in 2017, is down 2% to #4. The Suzuki Spacia (+33%), Wagon R (+251%) and Daihatsu Mira (+57%) are next, all posting spectacular year-on-year gains. Notice also the Daihatsu Atrai Wagon (+141%), Mazda Flair (+114%), Nissan NV100 (+51%) and Honda N-ONE (+26%) all signing very healthy increases.

Previous post (1): Japan Full Year 2017: Complete Japanese models data now available

Previous post (2): Japan Full Year 2017: Prius and N-BOX on top, C-HR wins one month

One year ago: Japan January 2017: Nissan Note leads, Toyota C-HR up to #4

Full January 2018 Top 52 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 35 kei cars below.

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