Analysts Expect Japan Imports of Autos to Surge
Sales of imported cars in Japan may soar in the next five years to as many as 350,000 cars a year, or three times current demand and 10% of the total market, industry analysts say.
“West German car manufacturers, which now control about 70% of the imported car market, are likely to profit the most,” said spokesman Ken Kano at the Japan Automobile Importers Assn. He said U.S. car makers now hold 10% of the lucrative Japanese import market.
“But I expect the U.S. share to increase . . . helped by Honda Motor Co.'s American-made Accord imports and the yen’s rise against the dollar,” Kano said.
In 1987, 97,750 imported cars were bought in Japan, a drop in the bucket compared to the country’s total market of 3.15 million autos. But the fact that only 35,286 imported cars were bought in 1983 paints a much more encouraging picture for foreign auto makers.
In September, imported car sales hit a record high of 15,248, up 51.1% from a year earlier and marking the 57th straight month of gains, JAIA statistics show.
With sales of imports brisk, even Honda has started importing some of the cars it produces in the United States. Honda expects to sell 5,000 Accord Coupes in the fiscal year ending March 31, a company spokeswoman said.