The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) recently conducted a survey to understand the trends and challenges in the small and light truck market for fiscal 2022. This annual survey aims to examine the changes in ownership, purchase, and usage patterns of these vehicles and identify future market trends.
The 2023 edition also focused on the impact of social and environmental factors, such as carbon neutrality goals, rising fuel prices, and driver shortages. Here, we discuss the main findings of the survey and their implications for the market.
Evolving trends and challenges
Ownership and Background of Change: The overall number of vehicles owned increased to 1.27 million, with small trucks and light vans continuing to decline. Non-transportation and transportation sectors both saw more offices decreasing ownership rather than increasing it.
Actual Demand Structure: Sales dropped significantly after 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Actual Conditions of Use: The ratio of vehicles used for both work and private purposes increased. The average monthly mileage for private use is shorter than that for commercial use.
Future Purchase and Ownership Intentions: Small and light trucks maintain their popularity among respondents planning to replace vehicles in the next fiscal year. However, there is an increasing trend towards purchasing other types of vehicles, particularly minicars, among light cab van and large van owners.
Awareness of Environmental Issues and Next-generation Environmental Vehicles/Electric Vehicles: The intention to introduce eco-friendly vehicles, including electric ones, has increased due to heightened environmental awareness and rising fuel prices. However, concerns about vehicle price, charging facilities, battery, and cruising range still persist.
Changes in Transportation Situations and Service Expectations: Small-volume, light-weight, and short-distance services have increased in the transportation industry over the past two years. Around 70% of non-transportation businesses currently use outsourcing services like courier services, with the intention to use such services increasing.
Safety Awareness and Advanced Safety Technologies: Approximately 80% of establishments are interested in vehicle safety, with advanced safety technologies like Collision Damage Mitigation Brakes and Pedestrian Detection and Protection Support Systems becoming more popular.
Driver Shortage Status and Challenges: Although the need for drivers in the transportation industry has decreased, about half of the companies still report a driver shortage. Measures such as raising salary levels and improving education for training inexperienced drivers are being considered to address this issue.
Trucks and Vans Among Farmers: Almost 40% of farmers plan to downsize or close their businesses, with nearly 30% planning to reduce or discontinue vehicle ownership. However, younger farmers (in their 50s or below) show a desire to expand their operations and run their own companies in the future.
The survey highlights the evolving trends and challenges in the small and light truck market in Japan. As the industry navigates the impacts of social and environmental changes, businesses and consumers alike must adapt to new patterns of vehicle ownership, usage, and purchase intentions. The survey results serve as a valuable resource for understanding the shifting landscape and preparing for the future of the market.
Visual: Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation