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Popularity of `Compact Car` in Japan

Posted May. 10, 2002 09:01,   


Japanese vehicle business is getting heated by the `war of compact cars. ` As the market of deluxe car has been depressed due to the long recess of economy for more than 10 years, now they are competing with compact cars.

Compact cars like `Fit` of Honda, `March` of Nissan, `Beats` and `Ist` of Toyota are ranked top 4 on the sales by the type of cars. The war of compact cars began when Toyota launched `Beats` in 1999. Consumers were attracted by `Bits` that was fashionable as well as economical.

Especially, `Fit` that Honda released in June last year is getting tremendous popularity. Yearly sales of Fit jumped to No. 2 after 9 months. Hence, Honda made the largest operating profit of 639.2 billion yen last year. According to the Japanese Car Sale Association, Fit ranked top with the sales of 7,600 cars last month, which is double of sales goal of 8,000 cars a month that Honda had set when it started selling.

Not to be outdone, Nissan put a new compact car model `March`, whose image is quite different from the existing model, on the market after 10 years in March this year. March also ranked No.3 selling 13,470 cars during last month. Round body and various body color are attracting young women.

Toyota released its ambitious work `Ist` on the 8th while Beats is selling well ranking No. 4. Toyota set the goal of sales at monthly 7,000 cars, but expects the sales of 15,000 cars during the first month after the release. Toyota Motor Corp President Fujio Cho expressed strong desire at an unveiling of new car, saying, “we will contribute to the economic recovery by creating new demands. ”

These small cars are not only cheap with the price of around 1 million yen, but also favorable for the environment with high fuel efficiency. Japanese car manufacturers like Toyota are willing to lead the boom of compact car even in the world market including Europe market.

Young-Ee Lee yes202@donga.com