The car market share obtained from Japan is on track to become the lowest in decades this year, driven by Toyota supply shortages and linked to rapid growth in imports from China.
Over the past 19 years, the average annual market share of Japanese-made cars in Australia has been 32.7 per cent, with the lowest figure since our records began being 27.6 per cent in 2016, and the highest being 38.3 per cent in 2005.
So far in 2023, Japanese-made cars account for 27.3 percent of all sales, with 124,535 units out of 456,833 in the entire market coming from the Land of the Rising Sun.
While this means the country is still Australia’s biggest source of vehicle imports ahead of Thailand, market share figures are at their lowest level since at least 2005 – as far as our database goes.
To put this market share information into some perspective, consider that Australians took delivery of almost 22,000 (21,896) more Japanese-made cars in the first five months of 2022 than they did in the same period in 2023.
In other words, a few percentage points of market share is equivalent to tens of thousands of cars, as expected by the table below.
|Calendar year||Made in Japan||Total market||% from Japan|
The decline in Japanese-made car sales this year coincides with an increase in Chinese-made car deliveries, which so far in 2023 total 72,619 units.
That’s up nearly 80 percent year over year, and equates to a 15.9 percent market share. Popular brands that source all of their cars from China include MG (seventh overall), Tesla (eighth), GWM (13th) and LDV (16th).
No wonder the five automakers that lost the most sales and share in 2023 year-on-year (YoY) are Japanese – although of course not all cars sold by Japanese brands are actually made in Japan. Our data above is specific to cars made in Japanfor clarity.
Year to date 2023:
- The overall market – up 4.3 percent or 18,949 units
- Toyota – down 27.9 percent or 27,529 units
- Mitsubishi – down 28.5 percent or 10,240 units
- Mazda – down 6.8 percent or 2969 units
- Suzuki – down 17.8 percent or 1551 units
- Honda – down 14.3 percent or 943 units
Toyota has been hit harder by stock shortages than any other brand simply by virtue of its sheer scale, with wait times for flagship models stretching past two years at times. Its YTD market share of 15.6 percent is concerning, considering it’s been north of 20 percent for years now.
While not all Toyotas sold here come from Japan – the HiLux comes from Thailand for example – it’s the vehicle with the biggest deliveries.
These are the RAV4 (down 40 percent), Prado (down 52.5 percent), Corolla (down 47.8 percent), C-HR (down 47.6 percent) and Camry (down 38.1 percent).
It’s a slightly different story for Mitsubishi as the Triton and Pajero Sport – again, both made in Thailand – are in charge of the brand.
Year to date 2023, sales by country of manufacture
- Japan – 124,535 units, down 15 percent
- Thailand – 97,237 units, down 5.6 percent
- China – 72,619, up 78.6 percent
- Korea – 65,771, up 3.3 percent
- Germany – 19,829, up 31.9 percent
- The overall market – up 4.3 percent
Although not yet statistically significant, it is likely that more Australian private buyers and fleets will move away from Japanese cars in the future given the lack of EVs coming from there.
EV sales in Australia hit a record 32,050 units this year, up four times YoY and equivalent to a 7.0 percent market share.
Yet none of the top 10 came from Japan, with the top sellers all coming from China, and to a lesser extent Korea and Germany.
Looking ahead at the automaker’s launch calendar, it’s unlikely this scenario will change that much anytime soon, either.
MORE: EVs coming to Australia, launch calendar and what’s already here
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