Japan - Country Commercial Guide
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Japan is the fourth largest automotive market in the world after China, the United States, and India. Japan is known as a global leader in motor vehicle manufacturing, home to automakers Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, Daihatsu, and Mitsubishi. The automotive manufacturing industry in Japan is significant to the country’s economic health, comprising 2.9 percent of the nation’s GDP and 13.9 percent of the manufacturing GDP.  However, since the mid-1980s, Japanese automakers have begun to manufacture vehicles outside of Japan, and today, about 2/3 of Japanese automotive vehicle manufacturing is overseas. The total value of automotive shipments in 2019 was $410 billion, accounting for 18.6 percent of total manufactured goods shipped by all manufacturing industries.

3,448,272 new passenger vehicles were sold in Japan in 2022, a decrease of 6.2 percent from the previous year, mainly due to supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Japan, there are 3 types of passenger vehicles: standard, compact, and Kei (‘light’ — the smallest highway-legal passenger) cars. Accounting for more than one-third of total new passenger vehicle sales, Kei cars are popular because they are affordable to purchase and maintain and entitled to tax and insurance benefits.

New Passenger Vehicles Sales in 2022 (in Units)

Table: New Passenger Vehicles Sales in 2022 (in Units)
Standard + Compact Cars Sales2,821,8862,478,8322,399,8622,223,303
Kei Cars Sales1,479,1261,331,0641,275,7881,224,969
Total New Passenger Vehicles Sales4,301,0123,809,8963,675,6503,448,272
Total New Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) Sales19,47614,60421,69358,813
BEV Ratio of Total New Passenger Vehicles Sales0.5%0.4%0.6%1.7%

Source: Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA), Japan Mini Vehicles Association (Zenkeijikyo)

(*2023 updated data not available at time of publishing.)

Leading Sub-Sectors

Electric Vehicles

Japan is phasing out conventional fuel vehicles by 2035. Sales of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in 2022 were 58,813. Regardless of a two-fold increase from the previous year, the BEVs sales today account for only 1.7 percent of the total new passenger vehicle sales. Nonetheless, this transition to EVs will bring new business opportunities to the market.

BEV penetration rates are different by the vehicle type; 1.4 percent for Standard + Compact cars and 2.2 percent for Kei cars.  BEV sales in 2022 were 31,592 for the Standard + Compact cars and 27,221 for the Kei cars. Nearly a half of the Standard Compact sales is Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), as the Japanese market demand for HEVs remains strong since the Toyota Prius was first introduced more than two decades ago. The Japanese government offers subsidies for purchases of new EVs, such as BEVs for all vehicle types, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEVs) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). Additionally, the current government plan is to increase the number of public charging stations from 30,000 to 150,000 (including 30,000 fast chargers) by 2030.

Aftermarket Services

Improvement of vehicle performance and the rise of vehicle prices have resulted in consumers delaying new vehicle purchases. The average age of standard and compact cars in 2022 was 9.03 years, an increase of 1.8 years from 2012. This increase in the average age set a new record for the last 30 consecutive years and will further drive vehicle maintenance and related supplies opportunities.

The number of maintenance personnel as of June 2022 was 399,619, an increase of 667 (0.2 percent) from the previous year. The average age of maintenance personnel was 46.7 years, an increase of 0.3 years from the previous year. To perform an overhaul of a vehicle, a service provider must receive a certification as a “certified factory” from the Director of the Regional Transport Bureau. Of the certified factories, the ones that can carry out Shaken (a compulsory inspection for all vehicles on the road in Japan) are the “designated factories”. In order to receive the designation, it is required to have maintenance equipment that meets or exceeds a certain standard, as well as equipment for vehicle inspections and an automobile inspector who is qualified to carry out the inspection. As of March 2022, there were 91,946 certified factories which were increased by 156 factories from the previous year. 30,147 of the certified factories were designated factories which can perform Shaken on-site.


  • Auto-tech solutions – autonomous driving, ADAS/sensing, EV battery/charging technology
  • AI and IoT solutions for automotive repair and maintenance services
  • Training services for automotive technicians on new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles


Major Shows

Industry Associations

Contact Us

For more information about Japan’s Automotive sector, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service, Japan at Office.Tokyo@trade.gov.