The Japanese are quitting what they call luxury cars, the Volkswagen sedans, for the Mercedes-Benz car. The Stuttgart brand takes a sales leading position in Japan for the first time in 16 years.
Mercedes-Benz is overtaking Volkswagen in Japan to become the top selling foreign brand in the Land of the Rising Sun. Even though the Japanese economy is declining, as Prime Miniter Shinzo Abe’s politics is weaking the yen, the Germans are making a splash there.
Deliveries for Daimler AG’s Mercedes surged by 19%, up to 32,680 vehicles this year through June, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Monday on its website. Sales for Volkswagen, the leading import brand since 2000, fell by 17%, down to 29,666.
The demand for luxury cars has almost doubled in Japan since 2013.
“Mercedes is gaining support from customers as they have been launching popular, competitive new models, one after another,” is the explanation offered by Katsuhiko Ikeda, a branch manager at a foreign-car dealership in Ibaraki, Osaka, second biggest urban area in Japan, after Tokyo.
Using the world famous Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda (AC Milan) to star in the TV ad for the C-Class must have helped a bit. Check out the commercial here!
Mercedes-Benz sales are rising, even though the overall Japanese auto market is shrinking. Combined sales of standard vehicles and minicars – the favorite of the Japanese who always complain of not having enough parking space – fell by11 percent during the first half of the year and has declined in 11 of the past 12 months.
The local automaker Toyota leads the overall ranking of car sales in Japan, closely followed by Honda and Nissan.