Japan’s Automobile Market and Industry after the Crisis – Back to Business as Usual or Further on the Way to Sustainability?

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2011)


Holger Bungsche
Professor a the School for International Studies
Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya

Preliminary title of the paper:
Japan’s Automobile Market and Industry after the Crisis – Back to Business as Usual or Further on the Way to Sustainability?

Outline of the paper:
In April 2009, the Japanese government introduced a new taxation system for automobiles, which reduced the various taxes on cars remarkably for customers purchasing an environmental friendly car. Depending on the car’s engine technology and fuel efficiency, buyers of a new ecological friendly car were completely exempted from taxes or are enjoying a reduction of up to 75% for three years after the car’s purchase. In addition to the tax reforms a ‘scrappage incentive scheme’ was implemented in June 2009, which boosted domestic sales and at least partially helped Japanese car manufacturers to compensate the dramatic decline of exports in the first half of 2009.
Both measures had quite some impact on the Japanese car market. Cars qualifying for tax reductions took a market share of more than 75% and hybrid cars, first and foremost Toyota’s Prius, were on top of the national sales ranking.
However, at the end of September 2010 the scrappage incentive expired and with a an overall recovering Japanese economy also the Japanese car market returned at least partially to a pre-crisis pattern with an extended demand for cars equipped with large engines and especially also for imported cars.
So, at this time the question is whether the trend towards ecological friendly cars was just a flash in the pan spurred by the new regulations, or whether there are tendencies observable that the Japanese car market is indeed moving towards more ecologically friendly cars and in the long run towards more sustainable ways of mobility.
Following up my last year’s presentation in Berlin, this year’s paper will present the recent developments of the Japanese car market against the background of longer consumption trends, on the one hand, and on the other hand the tendencies of product development of Japanese car manufacturers for the foreseeable future in reaction or in anticipation of market changes.
Relevance and Links to the GERPISA Program and the 2011 Conference:
The paper has relevance to the overall theme of the GERPISA conference ‘The Second Automobile Revolution Underway?’ and relates especially to themes 5, transformation in demand, and 2, automobile industries.

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