A backlog of orders as well as concerted marketing efforts by carmakers have minimized the impact from April’s consumption tax hike on sales between April and June — but there are still concerns about sales volume after July, the chairman of the nation’s automaker lobby said Tuesday.
“My biggest concerns are (the sales figures ) in July, August and September” after order backlogs run out, Fumihiko Ike, head of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association told a Tokyo news conference.
Ike, also chairman of Honda Motor Co., noted that domestic carmakers logged a 1.9 percent year-on-year drop in new four-wheel vehicle sales in the three-month period from April. On a monthly basis, new car sales in June recorded 0.4 percent increase from a year earlier, the first year-on-year growth in three months, he added.
He attributed the minor impact from the tax hike to “order backlogs of some car models and boosting commodities, as well as marketing efforts.”
However, “(April’s tax increase) has evidently affected store traffic ratio and storefront orders” after April, Ike said, adding that dealerships — especially those in rural areas — have suffered as customers refrain from purchasing cars amid the tax hike and rising gas prices.
Ike also noted that business sentiment hasn’t improved yet in rural areas.
At present, the automakers’ lobby doesn’t plan to revise its overall demand figures for the 2014 business year, projected to be 4.75 million units, he said.
Ike announced that the lobby will hold the biennial Tokyo Motor Show from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8 in 2015, a day longer than the 2013 event, at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward.
While the Detroit Three automakers have stayed away from the event since 2009, Ike also resumed calls for their participation.
“Personally, I’d like the Detroit Three to take part in the show,” Ike said, referring to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. “Together with us, I’d like them to boost the event.”
The auto show, the 44th in its history, will be held about three weeks earlier than the previous event last year to avoid conflicting with other motor shows, including the Los Angeles Auto Show and the Guangzhou International Motor Show in China, he said.
The previous event drew 902,800 visitors over 10 days.