New “old style” Japanese economic approach pushed up April domestic market. Mazda celebrates unexpected profits!

In April 2013, total light passenger vehicles market in Japan reported 365.165 sales, up 1.5% from last year. This is a welcome change after the first quarter was down. Remarkable was the quota of imported vehicles that in this month were 16.274, up 33.1% from April 2011.

Sales through April were 1.869.024, down 6.6%, with imports up 10.8%.

Japan’s auto makers have been some of the most vociferous proponents of a weaker yen—calling for the U.S. dollar to appreciate to ¥100 or more.

The renewed Japanese government introduced an “old style” political economy, already frequently practiced in these islands with strong short term effects and awful long term perspectives. However, zero interest rate, huge cash injections and high public expenses immediately pushed up consumer’s expectations and pushed down Yen evaluation, with a big applause from domestic carmakers.

A weaker yen makes Japanese-made cars and trucks less expensive around the world and helps increase overseas earnings when they are repatriated into yen.

But a closer look at two auto makers, Mazda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., shows that the benefits of a weaker yen to Japan Inc. are anything but clear.

Hiroshima-based Mazda is the car company most likely to pop the Champagne when the dollar hits ¥100. That is because Japan’s fifth-largest auto maker produces about 71% of its cars at home and exports roughly 80% of them, meaning a move in the currency can deliver a heavy blow or sudden windfall.

One reason for the high percentage of exports is Mazda’s small size: Last year it produced only 1.18 million vehicles, versus Nissan’s 4.88 million. Despite the currency risk, Mazda decided it would be more efficient to concentrate its factories in Japan, rather than spreading them throughout the world.

Even as the yen strengthened in 2012, Mazda brought production of its Mazda6 sports sedan back home, after falling vehicle sales in the U.S. spurred them to pull out of a Michigan assembly plant run jointly with Ford Motor Co.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, the move means the amount Mazda lost for every one-yen appreciation versus the dollar climbed to ¥3.5 billion—about 6.4% of the company’s ¥53.9 billion operating profit—¥1 billion more than it would have been two years ago. A strong yen—the dollar hit a post-World War II low of ¥75.31 in October 2011—has been a big factor behind Mazda’s four consecutive years in the red, totaling ¥245.7 billion in net losses.

Now the yen’s rapid slide means Mazda’s fortunes are changing.

Looking at the best brands performance:

Toyota in 1st sold 111.983 vehicles with a share of 30.7%, up 1.1 points of share from the previous month and 1.6 from the first quarter of 2013. Year-to-date April sales were 549.885 with a share of 29.4%. Toyota held 18 models in the top 50, with the Prius in 2nd position.

Suzuki in 2nd (4th year-to-date) posted a wonderful month selling 53.806 units with a share of 14.8%, up 1.7 points of share from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 247.337 with a share of 13.2%. Suzuki held 8 models in the top 50, with the Wagon R in 5th position.

Daihatsu climbed to the 3rd position (5th year-to-date) selling 51.907 units with a share of 14.2%, up 2.1 points of share from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 235.858 with a share of 12.6%. Daihatsu held 3 models in the top 50, with the Move as market leader.

Honda fell to the 4th position (2nd year-to-date) selling 48.500 units with a share of 13.3%, down 1.0 points from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 262.644 with a share of 14.1%. The best-selling model was the NBOX in 4th position.

Nissan in 5th (3rd year-to-date) posted a terrible month, after a negative March, with 37.541 sales and a share of 10.3%, down 3.0 points from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 249.521 with a share of 13.4%. The Note was 10th.

Mazda was 6th, selling 13.692 units with a share of 3.8%, down 0.6 points from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 80.105 with a share of 4.3%. The top model was the Demio in 26th position.

Subaru in 7th place sold 13.349 units, only 343 models less than Mazda, with a share of 3.7%, down 0.1 points from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 67.234 with a share of 3.6%. The best-selling model was the Impreza in 19th position.

Mitsubishi was 8th with 6.407 sales and a share of 1.8%, down 1.0 points from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 48.186 with a share of 2.6%. The eK was 45th.

Volkswagen was 9th selling 3.624 units with a share of 1.0%, down 0.3 points of share from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 21.772 with a share of 2.6%.

Lexus was 10th selling 3.369 vehicles with a share of 0.9%, up 0.1 points from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 15.560 with a share of 0.8%.

In the table below, the Top 25 brands, ranked by year-to-date position:

Rank YTD

Brand

Apr

YTD 2013

Q2 2012

Q3 2012

Q4 2012

Q1 2013

Mar 2013

Apr 2013

Ytd M 2013

1

Toyota

111.983

   549.885

29,8%

31,3%

31,0%

29,1%

29,6%

30,7%

29,4%

2

Honda

48.500

   262.644

15,0%

13,2%

12,8%

14,2%

14,3%

13,3%

14,1%

3

Nissan

37.541

   249.521

11,8%

12,7%

12,0%

14,1%

13,3%

10,3%

13,4%

4

Suzuki

53.806

   247.337

13,7%

12,7%

12,7%

12,9%

13,1%

14,8%

13,2%

5

Daihatsu

51.907

   235.858

14,0%

12,2%

12,3%

12,2%

12,1%

14,2%

12,6%

6

Mazda

13.692

     80.105

4,0%

4,4%

3,7%

4,4%

4,4%

3,8%

4,3%

7

Subaru

13.349

     67.234

2,6%

3,2%

3,7%

3,6%

3,8%

3,7%

3,6%

8

Mitsubishi

6.407

     48.186

2,4%

2,5%

2,7%

2,8%

2,8%

1,8%

2,6%

9

Volkswagen

3.624

     21.772

1,0%

1,0%

1,3%

1,2%

1,3%

1,0%

1,2%

10

Lexus

3.369

     15.560

0,9%

0,9%

0,9%

0,8%

0,8%

0,9%

0,8%

11

Mercedes

2.794

     14.585

0,7%

0,8%

1,0%

0,8%

1,0%

0,8%

0,8%

12

Isuzu

3.071

     12.632

0,6%

1,2%

1,3%

0,6%

0,3%

0,8%

0,7%

13

BMW

2.512

     12.523

0,8%

0,8%

0,7%

0,7%

0,9%

0,7%

0,7%

14

Audi

1.864

       9.305

0,4%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

15

Hino

2.279

       8.874

0,5%

0,8%

1,0%

0,4%

0,1%

0,6%

0,5%

16

Mitsubishi Fuso

2.470

       7.745

0,5%

0,6%

0,8%

0,4%

0,2%

0,7%

0,4%

17

Mini

1.156

       5.193

0,3%

0,3%

0,3%

0,3%

0,3%

0,3%

0,3%

18

Volvo

976

       4.269

0,3%

0,3%

0,4%

0,2%

0,3%

0,3%

0,2%

19

Peugeot

352

       1.914

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

20

Fiat

489

       1.679

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

21

Ford

350

       1.475

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

22

Porsche

455

       1.454

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

23

Jeep

240

       1.441

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

24

Land Rover

225

       1.157

0,0%

0,0%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

25

Renault

184

       1.153

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

0,1%

Looking at the best-selling models, the Daihatsu Move jumped to the 1st position, up 4 spots from March, selling 18.601 units with a share of 5.1%, up 1.5 points from the previous month. Year-to-date sales were 79.394 with a share of 3.9%.

The Prius was 2nd selling 18.417 units with a share of 5.1%, up 0.5 points from the previous month, followed by the Aqua in 3rd with 17.182 sales and a share of 4.7%; down 0.1 points from March.

The NBOX was 4th selling 16.382 with a share of 4.5%, up 0.7 points from the previous month, followed by the WagonR in 5th with 13.787 sales and a share of 43.8%, down 0.3 points from March, and by the Mira in 6th with 11.848 sales and a share of 3.3%, up 0.5 points from the previous month.

The Alto was 7th, up 5 spots from March, selling 10.870 units with a share of 3.9%, up 1.2 points from the previous month, followed by the N ONE in 8th with 9.618 sales and a share of 2.6%, up 0.3 points from March.

The Tanto was 9th selling 9.532 units with a share of 2.6%, up 0.3 points from March, followed by the Note in 10th with 9.415 sales and a share of 2.6%, down 0.4 points from the previous month.

In the table below, the Top 50 models, ranked for last month position:

Rank Apr

Rank Mar

Rank 2012

Model

Apr ’13

YTD 2013

Q2 2012

Q3 2012

Q4 2012

Q1 2013

Mar 2013

Apr 2013

YTD M 2013

1

5

8

Daihatsu Move

     18.601

     79.394

2,8%

2,3%

2,1%

3,7%

3,6%

5,1%

3,9%

2

2

1

Toyota Prius

     18.417

     92.140

5,0%

5,3%

4,7%

4,4%

4,6%

5,1%

4,6%

3

1

2

Toyota Aqua

     17.182

     97.867

4,4%

4,5%

5,9%

4,9%

4,8%

4,7%

4,8%

4

4

4

Honda NBOX

     16.382

     85.983

4,1%

3,9%

4,0%

4,2%

3,8%

4,5%

4,3%

5

3

6

Suzuki WagonR

     13.787

     73.759

3,0%

3,5%

3,5%

3,6%

4,1%

3,8%

3,6%

6

8

3

Daihatsu Mira

     11.848

     55.582

4,0%

3,3%

3,5%

2,6%

2,8%

3,3%

2,7%

7

12

9

Suzuki Alto

     10.870

     41.702

2,1%

1,9%

1,6%

1,9%

1,8%

3,0%

2,1%

8

9

53

Honda N ONE

       9.618

     46.924

0,0%

0,0%

1,5%

2,2%

2,3%

2,6%

2,3%

9

10

7

Daihatsu Tanto

       9.532

     49.893

3,1%

2,9%

2,8%

2,4%

2,3%

2,6%

2,5%

10

6

13

Nissan Note

       9.415

     61.777

0,8%

1,4%

2,5%

3,2%

3,0%

2,6%

3,1%

11

7

5

Honda Fit

       9.176

     50.583

3,7%

3,2%

2,2%

2,5%

2,9%

2,5%

2,5%

12

14

38

Toyota Crown

       8.181

     34.768

0,5%

0,4%

0,5%

1,6%

1,7%

2,2%

1,7%

13

20

89

Suzuki Spacia

       8.112

     15.357

0,0%

0,0%

0,0%

0,4%

1,0%

2,2%

0,8%

14

13

11

Toyota Vitz

       6.904

     33.001

1,8%

1,7%

1,3%

1,6%

1,8%

1,9%

1,6%

15

15

14

Toyota Corolla

       5.954

     28.220

1,1%

1,7%

1,4%

1,3%

1,5%

1,6%

1,4%

16

11

12

Nissan Serena

       4.531

     36.594

1,5%

1,9%

1,2%

1,9%

1,8%

1,2%

1,8%

17

17

15

Nissan Moco

       4.232

     27.531

1,1%

1,0%

1,0%

1,4%

1,4%

1,2%

1,4%

18

16

10

Honda Freed

       4.183

     27.524

1,9%

1,4%

1,1%

1,4%

1,5%

1,1%

1,4%

19

19

21

Subaru Impreza

       4.041

     20.014

0,6%

1,0%

1,3%

1,0%

1,1%

1,1%

1,0%

20

25

19

Toyota Vellfire

       3.712

     17.104

1,1%

0,8%

0,7%

0,8%

0,8%

1,0%

0,8%

21

22

42

Toyota Spade

       3.542

     18.591

0,4%

0,2%

1,2%

0,9%

0,9%

1,0%

0,9%

22

62

57

Subaru Forester

       3.377

       5.277

0,2%

0,2%

0,4%

0,1%

0,1%

0,9%

0,3%

23

27

25

Suzuki Swift

       3.363

     14.418

0,9%

0,7%

0,6%

0,7%

0,7%

0,9%

0,7%

24

24

22

Toyota Passo

       3.262

     15.900

0,9%

0,8%

0,7%

0,8%

0,8%

0,9%

0,8%

25

18

17

Honda Step

       3.094

     23.954

1,2%

1,1%

0,9%

1,3%

1,3%

0,8%

1,2%

26

21

20

Mazda Demio

       2.792

     18.010

1,0%

1,0%

0,7%

0,9%

0,9%

0,8%

0,9%

27

38

27

Toyota Alphard

       2.728

     11.688

0,9%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,7%

0,6%

28

42

37

Toyota Pixis Space

       2.659

     10.228

0,5%

0,7%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,7%

0,5%

29

26

23

Toyota Voxy

       2.544

     14.619

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

30

31

31

Suzuki Solio

       2.387

     11.452

0,7%

0,7%

0,5%

0,5%

0,6%

0,7%

0,6%

31

34

59

Toyota Porte

       2.298

     11.921

0,0%

0,0%

0,8%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

32

32

33

Toyota Noah

       2.158

     11.695

0,6%

0,5%

0,5%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

33

30

30

Toyota Estima

       2.127

     11.993

0,6%

0,8%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

34

23

35

Mazda CX-5

       2.108

     12.770

0,7%

0,9%

0,6%

0,6%

0,9%

0,6%

0,6%

35

37

34

Toyota Wish

       1.868

     10.062

0,7%

0,6%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

36

36

26

Toyota Ractis

       1.858

       9.905

0,7%

0,6%

0,5%

0,5%

0,6%

0,5%

0,5%

37

39

46

Subaru Stella

       1.761

       7.969

0,3%

0,4%

0,3%

0,4%

0,5%

0,5%

0,4%

38

33

29

Nissan March

       1.720

     10.934

0,5%

0,7%

0,4%

0,6%

0,6%

0,5%

0,5%

39

46

45

Mazda Atenza

       1.610

       9.301

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

0,5%

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

40

54

28

Nissan Cube

       1.549

       7.846

0,6%

0,6%

0,5%

0,4%

0,2%

0,4%

0,4%

41

29

32

Suzuki MR Wagon

       1.537

     13.058

0,9%

0,6%

0,4%

0,7%

0,7%

0,4%

0,6%

42

45

48

Suzuki Every Wagon

       1.496

     10.562

0,4%

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

43

62

41

Toyota Sienta

       1.337

       3.237

0,5%

0,4%

0,2%

0,1%

0,1%

0,4%

0,2%

44

28

16

Nissan Roox

       1.282

     15.333

2,1%

0,7%

0,7%

0,8%

0,7%

0,4%

0,8%

45

35

40

Mitsubishi eK

       1.257

       9.673

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

0,5%

0,6%

0,3%

0,5%

46

48

56

Suzuki Jimny

       1.241

       9.004

0,2%

0,2%

0,3%

0,5%

0,3%

0,3%

0,4%

47

44

88

Mazda Flair

       1.186

       8.146

0,0%

0,0%

0,2%

0,4%

0,4%

0,3%

0,4%

48

47

24

Honda Life

       1.089

       5.940

0,7%

0,7%

0,4%

0,3%

0,3%

0,3%

0,3%

49

62

47

Toyota 86

           900

       2.800

0,5%

0,6%

0,3%

0,1%

0,1%

0,2%

0,1%

50

61

61

Mazda Carol

           781

       3.555

0,2%

0,2%

0,1%

0,2%

0,1%

0,2%

0,2%

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This report was written by focus2move Managing Partner, C Simongini a former Mazda Executive Director.

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