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Looking @ Numbers in Japan

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The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) recently released its “Motor Vehicle Statistics of Japan” for 2015, which includes some interesting statistics, at least for those inclined to look at things like historic motor vehicle statistics.

For example, did you know that in 1945 there were 25,533 cars in use in Japan? That’s in a country with a population of some 72-million people.

The number of cars in use didn’t break a million until 1963, when the number was 1,233,651. (Population: 96.2-million.)

But numbers that I found more surprising are in the “New Motor Vehicle Registrations” category.


1989 Toyota Celica GT-S Turbo, part of the biggest year in Japanese car registrations

In 1955, according to JAMA, there were 20,055 new cars registered, but more than twice as many trucks: 40,498. Presumably, that had more than a little to do with post-war rebuilding.

Truck registrations pretty much kept that 2X lead until 1970, when 2,379,137 cars were registered and 1,693,502 trucks.

Here’s something to ponder: in 1965, just five years earlier, there were only 586,287 cars registered. That is quite a leap to the nearly 2.4-million of 1970.

While Japanese auto sales have been doing rather poorly of late—according to LMC Automotive, through July, 2015 light vehicle sales are down 9.7% in Japan—the greatest number of cars were registered in Japan some time ago.

In 1990 there were 5,102,659 new cars registered in Japan. According to the JAMA figures, that is the only year that registrations broke the 5-million mark.

That was also the year that saw the greatest number of combined car, bus and truck registrations: 7,777,493.

In 2014, the number of new cars registered was 4,699,591.

And in case you’re wondering, there were 851,314 new trucks registered in 2014, or about 18% of the number of cars.

As for the biggest year for new truck registrations in Japan: 1988, with 2,980,103. Trucks never broke the 3-million mark.

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