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Japan auto sales plunge as young lose interest

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Japan has way too many cars now, these companies like Toyota, Honda, Nissan need to change their products, make them more affordable and to run on cleaner fuels, like hydrogen engines etc..

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“If you stay happy in your soul then you can be happy without money.”

There is reason to hope. Stay happy Makino!

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I can afford the car, it's the parking that is killing me!

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In other words, sour grapes anyway...

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Living in Japan for eight years, I have Japanese friends without vehicles and they have no desire to own one. The ones with vehicles replace them every four years. I guess on my level I do not see a difference in sales with the group I hang around with.

I would like to see the percentage being exported to other countries in comparison to what is sold domestically?

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having a car in the city is a headache,and it takes longer then the train to get anywhere anyway!

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I have friends who get a car once they have a kid or two. They also live a bit far from train station. My advice to just call a taxi to get the brood to the station and save the car money for the kid's education fund didn't seem to fall on receptive ears. I wonder if they'll even remember this other way a few tough years from now...

As an American, I do miss my car. I also miss having an office, and my own desk. However, I live here and feel the trade-off is pretty well worthwhile. I admire young Japanese who are getting beyond the heavily propagandized consumer mode. Good on Makino.

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The big status symbol in Singapore is an internet-friendly car, I hear. The car is like a mobile office/music room. This could be part of the answer for Japan, perhaps with the big car manufacturers offering incentives to parking lot/ car park owners to reduce their charges. (?)

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A car is still a necessity in most areas of Japan outside of the big cities. But give us a decent car and we'll buy one! Compared to cars designed around 1990, today's cars have been cost-reduced in the important mechanical areas and bloated with gadgets at the same time. Just try to find something as simple as a new inexpensive car that's lightweight and has disc brakes and independent suspension all around.

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I think there are many factors stopping Japanese people from buying a car. The major ones are: Petrol Cost, parking issue and maintenance. plus it is quicker and easier to catch public transport than driving especially in a congested cities like Tokyo and Osaka

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28-year-old musician and part-time maintenance worker

lives in the city and is anti-consumerism.

Was this ever the Japanese car industry's target market? Even a niche market? Probably not.

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Living in a semi rural area I really depend on my car. In fact I have two Honda's...well three if you count my scooter, because I love cars. I have only traveled to Tokyo a few times but I could see how ownership of a car is somewhat unnecessary in a city where the public transport is quite good and many services are within walking distance. I don't think everyone needs a car but there are some wonderful products out these days and I would encourage young people to be excited about this.

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“If you stay happy in your soul then you can be happy without money.”

Justt like me! my parents have cars i do not ;] i ride, walk and catch public transport (if i really have to). I am happy getting around on my bike and walking xD Im the one who stands out in the crowd, walks the streets with an umbrella on a hot day haha people stare, i dont care! lol

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I don’t believe that having more things enriches you

Amen to that.

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I cheer Makino- he gets it.

Honestly, there are plenty of people in Japan who need cars- but they live outside the cities, and don't commute to the cities. Rural Japan is huge compared to the small bit that even the JR serves, so it makes sense to have a car if you live in the countryside- parking is never a problem there!

I can't see a reason to own a car if you live within 10-15 minutes of a subway/train in the city, as you can get anywhere cheaper and quicker than with a car- parking is indeed the killer. Never any place to park, even in the sky garages, and the rates are beyond obscene. Honda, Toyota, etc. should be marketing to the people in the countryside- that's where the market is.

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Push bikes are cheap and a lot better than cars for getting around if you live in the cities. I never did more than 8,000km per year by car in Japan some times only 3,000km. Often I used taxis as they were more convenient because finding parking is often difficult in Japanese cities. I just drove to work as it was quicker than busses but only by 15 minutes or so and parking at work was no problem. Definately not cost effective though so I can understand Japanese not being interested in owning cars.

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I live in a big city but have a car. The only reason I do is because of my toddler. It's a real pain going anywhere farther than 200 yards with the little one. Especially when shopping and carrying large or numerous items. (Before the kid, I actually junked my van since it was unnecessary with such good public transpo.)

After the kid arrived, I did what the previous poster wrote about calling a cab, but that really added up to be quite a bit and actually quite inconvenient at times since the cab's arrival times were too erratic. Renting a car really added up, too. But like I said, without a kid, a car isn't necessary inside the big cities like Osaka, Tokyo etc.

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I've lived in Tokyo for nearly 20 years and have only wanted a car here for nostalgia's sake, as I had one back home. It would be nice to go driving on weekends out in the country back that would make driving only once a week (at most) for me, so it's not really worth getting one. I think I'll be one of the train crowd for a long time yet.

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The auto makers really need to pull their heads out of their butts. Yeah, the status symbol thing was helpful in getting the Japanese to buy cars, but look at all the sewage they had to wade through: High gas prices, high taxes of several varieties, high highway tolls, mounds of paperwork and restrictions. You even need to register a place to park. And that is just the beginning. The traffic lights are not timed for traffic to flow, which means they are timed for traffic to NOT flow. Until recently it was just hard to find a place to park. NOW, you have chuckleheads actually cracking down on illegal parking, pushing people to actually pay the high rates of pay parking each and every time they park. Also, NOW, so much as one beer and you are not allowed to drive.

Having a car is FAR more trouble than pleasure, and as the pull of the status symbol was waning a bit, the recent crackdowns were like a psycho attack by a 200 pound mugger.

The car companies need to exercise some influence with the government and get some of those oppressive regs and taxes and fees reduced or removed. The government is killing is killing their trade more than anything.

And to all you eco-friendly people out there, car pollution can certainly use decreasing, but cars are just a bit player in polluting the Earth compared to industry.

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My advice to just call a taxi to get the brood to the station and save the car money for the kid's education fund didn't seem to fall on receptive ears.

I cannot imagine that would be anywhere near practical advice. Of course it depends on distances and such, but taxis are so expensive here I cannot imagine savings would be significant. Or, to reduced taxi trips, that the stress would be worth it.

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I don't need a car in Japan. Its a waste of money. Maybe if I get rich I will buy one just to for drives in the countryside but thats all.

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I have had a new car for 1 year. I have driven it twice. My wife uses it for work, shopping and taking the kids to various activities. If she had to take public transport, it would be a real hassle.

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I want to have a car but I don't use car everyday. Public transportation (train, subway, bus) is much more useful convenient when I go to work. I think many people do not use car everyday like me. That's why they do not want it. If you keep your own car, you have to pay license tax, insurance, inspection fee, gasoline, parking fee, etc, so everything costs a lot anyway. I will rent a car when I really need a car.

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the japanes auto industry has been scamming people here for ever. First it was a car to overpriced so it did look like a staus symble. Then as people had the money to aford one well then they needed a license, and good ole toyota was there to help them out with that. Yup toyota started the million dollar driving schools. Anywhere else in the world and its a few dollars and a simple test, but not in japan, Its a pound of flesh and a few grand.

Then as all this went on toyota noticed their cars werent needing repairs as often so what did they do next, yup shaken. They rape you for un needed repairs and maintanace, and then tax you for it. Yes see the gov. been behind this from the start. Then they decided they would sell tax payers roads that would be paid for in 20 years and well were still paying. Did you know they bring in the equivilent of $7m a day just in tokyo on the inner and outter express. They dont do anything to stop the congestion, they have only added a few small short cuts in the past 20 years, and yet they still rape you to use it.

And then there is gas and parking. Why not make parking manditory, why do you think K cars sell so well there is no manditory parking needed for them. As well the gov. takes half the price of fuel for tax for what I dont know becouse they have taxed you at the purchase, taxed you when you got the DL, taxed you when you regestered it, taxed you to drive it down the road, and taxed you to park it, then they still want to tax you on the fuel.

If you live in the city with decent public tranxport your a moron to have a car. Save the money but out in the sticks and you get a buss that makes a loop maybe 5 times a day, you need a car.

Just to make a round trip from my house to inner tokyp cost 10000 yen. Its the same for the shinkensen, half on the regular tracks. If Im going to tokyo alone I take the train, but if Im going in a group then its cheeper to drive. I guess this is why there a so many paper menkyos, and sundy drivers in japan.

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The road tolls are the worst. Once paid off they should be free, but as private companies run them, that won't happen in a hurry. It's not as though the quality of the roads is stellar anyway with pot holes and uneven surfaces everywhere, mostly on the ippan routes. Or offer bigger discounts for ETC equipped cars. In 2009, there really is no excuse for cars to still pay the ojisans by hand at the toll booths. I know Japan is a cash culture but ETC is the future...

Shaken is a govt/auto industry rip off to force you to buy new cars, or to (potentially) needlessly spend over 100,000 yen on simple checks and paper work. And car dealers have needed an excuse to overcharge as it is. They asked me for 30,000 yen for mats/carpets for my car (sigh)

Petrol prices have dropped but not far enough if you consider the wholesale price of crude oil as it is now, and where it stood last summer. It should be around 80 yen per litre, but still is around 100 yen. Still, it now costs me 6,000 per fill up as opposed to 10,000 last year. Ouch, and I am glad for the price drop.

If only they would reduce the tolls, a little, at least for the Tokyo expressway. I feel it should be 700 yen per day use, not per entry, a bit like the London congestion charge. As it is, you pay 700 yen and still find yourself in a traffic jam so you can't escape at all, really.

With that said, ownership of a car still equals freedom to the masses. Trains and buses are great but for that impulsive short trip, or even a drive to the countryside or mountains, you can't beat owning one (if you can afford it)

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I got rid of my Japanese car. It was not worth the upkeep! Being in Japan and America on equal time meant the thing sat there in the 10,000 yen a month. I am scrapping my American car but with no public transport or even taxis had to replace it with a new Honda. Even in Okinawa I do not "need" a car and it was just a convenience not a must. The San A store is just around the corner. Parking the thing is a real bother. It is just as easy to bring home my "eco bag" fill of groceries every other day. I live within walking distance of work, why should I pay for something not needed?

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"So we have to keep convincing them cars are great".

If you have to convince someone that someone is great, is it really great?

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Im from SoCal and have owned cars and motorcycles since I was 16. Back home a car is as requisite as shoes. Yeah, you dont NEED shoes to live, but you wont get real far without em. Same goes for a car.

Here in Japan, the train system is all too efficient. I own a K-car because I dont need my car to tell people who I am. I just need to get from A to B. When I take the train, I get to my destination on time and without the hassle of crowded parking, poorly engineered roads, and pathetic drivers.

When I give in to my wife who LOVES driving, we are ALWAYS late. She gets lost, or traffic is horrible, or parking is horrible AND expensive, or the roads arent as described on Navi/paper mapple.

Ive driven in the sticks, and Ive driven in Tokyo. When I took the drivers test I passed on the first try. I dont have a problem driving anywhere, but I have a problem with the state of driving here.

Ill just renew my Suica train pass and call it a day.

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I agree there is absolutely ZERO need for a car so long as you are in decent health and are on your own or have only your partner with you. If you have kids old enough to get by on their own and not be a pain in the ass, that works too.

If you live in rural Japan, not having a car is not an option in most cases. I also believe that if you have a young child, are older and cannot get around too easily, and/or have dependents older than you it can be very tough to get by on public transit alone. I have no trouble waking up early and hauling butt 4 km or so on foot if the weather is nice, or 2 km to the train station and a short ride if it's not (depending on the company I'm heading to). But having to carry a kid to school, or god forbid to the hospital... no way.

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A great deal depends on what you use your car for, and how you use it.

A car can work out cheaper for a group of people traveling together, or if you have an equipment intensive sport/ hobby such as scuba-diving or camping ( try traveling on the bus and subway with your gear), or if you use it for both business and pleasure - mine regularly carries 300-500 kg of work equipment with the back seats folded down - try lugging that on the train or a courier.

I can get to most places in Tokyo from Kanagawa in an hour, much quicker than the train, and am quite prepared to pay the extra cost and parking to compensate for the shortened journey time, especially when fully loaded. A good detailed map and small bilingual car-navigation system makes travel easy. The family love being able to travel together, stopping when we want, where we want, we can even prepare a meal when we like. Buses and trains do not always run when you want, or where you want.

I use my bicycle to commute to my office too, whenever I can. Balancing your needs is what it is all about.

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Living just west of Shinjuku, I find owning a car is reasonably priced in comparison to my home country, the UK. Petrol is relatively cheap, car tax is averagely priced and the state of the roads are generally okay. The beauty of it all though is how cheap the insurance is. I'm paying around half of what I alone paid in the UK for myself and my wife for a similar car, even though I had a 3yrs no-claims bonus. The only pet peeve I have is the damn shaken. Though in relation to where I have come from, I don't see the fuss. Japan, if somewhat pedantic, is relatively cheap in comparison to other industralised nations across the board. When you grow up seeing almost half of your wage disappear in tax and National Insurance, it's a real kick in the teeth to have to pay massive taxes on everything else. E.g. Petrol, until recently was over one pound a litre. Predominately tax!! Again though, if you use your car properly, in our case my wife uses it to facilitate our soon to and from school, shopping etc. it is not so costly.

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Cars in Europe are expensive. As I think, much more expensive than in Japan. Plus, cars in Japan are better equipped. And being better equipped cost less. Regarding insurance and tax, it is also very costly in Europe. I know that as beginner. I do not get any benefits (about 3 years driving experience) from any insurance company and nobody cares how good you drive. Fuel costs much more in Europe comparing to Japan, USA, or Canada. Parking is cheap in Europe mostly. Reason is there is no parking available at all. So you park your car somewhere where you just should not park. My car parked on street 100% of time (winter, spring, summer etc), near office or home, or in the city. I just can not find real parking space even if I pay for that, it is just not there. About roads quality, you can forget about that. You can rarely find streets or express ways in Europe of the same quality as in Japan. European streets are completely overused.

As it looks like, boys and girls from Japan have got some another interests in their lives besides cars. That's all.

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Maybe they should just make a different kind of vehicle, electric bikes, or Hybrid Bikes. I don't think you should drive a US style car in a place that's not built like the US. You should drive a car that's built for your city.

That's why you find more trucks in the country, and find more cars in the city. Though, Americans are gluttons and tend to have both.

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Have the young lost interest or momma and pappa's bling? Me thinks their allowances have been cut or scrapped.

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