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Italian Economic ​Diplomacy 16 January: Breaking news from the world

Japan: positive trend for the automotive sector, made in italy brands also rise

In 2017, thanks to the progressive recovery of its economy, Japan recorded the first comprehensive rise (after 3 years) in new car sales.

This is the outcome of the analysis conducted by trade associations, according to which new car registrations in the Country have reached 5.2 million units, recording a 5.3% rise compared to 2016. Out of total car registrations, 9.5% is attributable to foreign brands and, in this respect, notice should be taken of the favourable positioning of Italian groups.

FCA (Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Jeep, Chrysler and, for the remaining part, Lancia) with 20,393 cars sold in 2016 (53% of which attributable to Italian brands), is the fifth-largest foreign group in terms of units following BMW/Mini, Mercedes/Smart, Volkswagen/Bentley and Audi/Lamborghini. Considering the constant growth over the year, the Italo-American group estimates selling a total of 22,000 units in 2017.

In particular, the specifically Italian brands are witnessing a rise in sales both of Alfa Romeo and above all of Abarth, while Fiat remains essentially stable.  

Up to now, the most positive performance has been recorded by Maserati, whose registrations reached 1,553 units over the period January-November 2017, up 41.2% from the same period of 2016. Equally positive over this same lapse of time is the performance of Ferrari (+18.4%). A good performance was also recorded by Lamborghini (+24.2%) of the Audi-Volkswagen group, for which Japan confirms being the second-largest market after the United States.  

In 2017, the value of car imports from Italy grew almost 25% compared to 2016.

Lastly, notice should be taken of ongoing structural changes: in 2009, 96% of the cars in Japan was fuelled with petrol; in 2016 this percentage dropped to 55.8%, with steep peaks for hybrid (37.8%), diesel (5.1%) and electricity-powered (1.3%) cars.

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