By now, you've heard this countless times already. 2020 was a rough year for everyone including the automotive sector. That said, it wasn't too disastrous for the Japanese automakers. Most still rolled out millions of cars despite a temporary production stoppage. So, what are the numbers?
Let's start with Japan's biggest automaker, Toyota. They sold 9,528,438 vehicles last year which also includes all models from Lexus, Hino, and Daihatsu. It's 10.5% lower than 2019's numbers, but there is some good news. After five years of sitting behind Volkswagen Auto Group as the world's second-biggest automaker, Toyota has reclaimed the top spot. So not only are they the top-selling Japanese auto manufacturer, but they are also the world's best-seller.
In second place is Honda. From January to December 2020, their tally for that year is 4,398,583. This number also includes vehicles from Acura, Honda's luxury division for North America and China. Considering their size compared to Toyota, it's still a strong showing. Of course, Honda wants to bounce back from the 14.9% drop in production in 2020. The all-new Civic, which is due this year, is likely to be their sales driver for 2021.
Nissan comes in third in the Japanese auto sales and production race. Despite a 22.2% drop in sales, they still managed to shift over four million vehicles. The exact figure is 4,029,166 units, and that's without any help from Alliance members Mitsubishi and Renault. With the Nissan Next revival plan, they might be able to put their rough years behind them this decade.
That's the big three of Japan covered, but what about the rest of them?
Suzuki's global auto sales went down by 18.6% compared to 2019's figures. Still, they sold 2,447,971 units thanks to India and other emerging markets. That's reflected by their export numbers, which are up by 9.3%. Models such as the S-Presso, the updated Carry, and the possible five-door Jimny could help them sustain momentum.
All things considered, Mazda had a decent 2020 as well. Worldwide sales may be down by 17%, but their vehicles still managed to find 1,243,005 new homes last year. It could be said that the raft of new models and the CX-5 (their top-selling model) helped them overcome the difficult year.
Subaru doesn't always sell over one million cars every year, but their 2020 sales figures aren't bad considering they have a limited product line-up. Last year's total is 10.4% lower than 2019's tally. Still, that translates to 884,874 units. Their new and redesigned models might turn the tide this year.
But what about Mitsubishi? Among the significant players in the Japanese auto industry, they were the hardest hit. They are down by a whopping 37.6%, meaning it's the first time in 11 years they rolled out less than one million vehicles. The 2020 tally is at 854,091 units, but we know Mitsubishi won't take that sales and production slide sitting down. The automaker has the all-new Outlander, Strada, and Montero Sport coming out within the next two years, so expect them to bounce back stronger than before.