May 21, 2015

Outline of JAMA Business Activity in Fiscal 2015

For fiscal year 2015 (ending March 31, 2016), the outlook for Japan’s domestic motor vehicle market is tempered by concerns about the adverse impacts of both the hike in the national consumption (i.e., sales) tax implemented in April 2014 and the increase in the mini-vehicle tax effective from April 1 this year.  With respect to the worldwide market outlook for fiscal 2015, while there are expectations for continued robustness in the United States, a firm recovery in Europe, and growth in emerging markets, optimism in regard to the business environment overall is mitigated primarily by the risks of downturn prompted by uncertainty in the global economy and intensified international competition.

As an engine of the national economy, Japan’s automobile industry has a core role to play in promoting sustainable growth.  In addressing the diverse challenges facing our industry, the priorities of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association for the current fiscal year will continue to focus on revitalization of the domestic vehicle market; improvement of the business environment; and the achievement of safer, more comfortable and sustainable mobility.

Revitalizing the domestic motor vehicle market
Supplying products of ever-increasing value while vigorously promoting their appeal to consumers will be the key to reversing the over two-decades-long sluggishness in Japan’s domestic vehicle market.

A major highlight this year will be the 44th Tokyo Motor Show opening on October 29.  Preparations are already well underway for this gala event and exciting global showcase, whose purpose is to introduce and delight visitors with the latest wide-ranging advances in automotive technologies.

Also critical to the revitalization of Japan’s home market is the provision of an environment that facilitates the ownership and use of automobiles and motorcycles of consumers’ choice.  With an additional rise in the consumption tax scheduled for April 2017, a crucial activity for JAMA will be to continue lobbying the government for further revisions to Japan’s auto-related taxes to reduce the burden those taxes impose on vehicle owners.

In 2014, a “Roadmap for Motorcycle Industry Policy” was compiled by JAMA in collaboration with other stakeholders including industry partners and local governments.  This year, we will energetically promote the adoption of simplified requirements for motorcycle licensing and an expanded availability of motorcycle parking bays, among a range of measures to promote greater convenience in motorcycle ownership and use. 

Improving the business environment
Improving the domestic business environment is pivotal to maintaining production and employment, and thereby securing the foundation of Japanese manufacturing.  To promote the revitalization of industry and its increased international competitiveness, we will appeal to the government for a sustained, progressive reduction in Japan’s corporate tax rate; for improvements in the investment environment for research and development; and for expanded negotiations on the establishment of economic partnership agreements with other countries and regions.

In view of the automobile industry’s deep commitment to global-scale business development, it is vitally important that progress be achieved in the liberalization of trade and investment based on the formulation of common rules.  We will, therefore, be vocal advocates of accelerating the pace of talks to reach early accord on international treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the European Union-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

Achieving safer, more comfortable, and sustainable mobility
In line with the Japanese automobile industry’s central mission of creating safer, more comfortable and sustainable mobility, Japan’s automakers are advancing the wider use of onboard automated driving support systems for the greater safety of all road users, including pedestrians.  Furthermore, in addition to their proactive promotion of safety-enhancing vehicle technologies, JAMA and its members will, during the current fiscal year, continue to conduct their road safety awareness campaigns and educational programs as well as their lobbying activities for improvements in the road use environment, in support of the Japanese government’s goal of making Japan’s roads the safest in the world.

For the automakers just as for consumers, automotive safety and quality are matters of the most crucial importance.  Accordingly, we are resolutely and comprehensively addressing the massive-scale quality issue that has recently come to the fore, in order to restore consumers’ confidence.

With respect to energy and environmental issues, the Japanese automobile industry continues to advance the development and market introduction of next-generation vehicles that will make a significant contribution to efforts to counter global warming and improve air quality.  To optimize that contribution, the necessary infrastructure for the widespread use of fuel-cell and electric vehicles must be established in a timely way.  JAMA and its member manufacturers are not only working with related industries but also petitioning the government for its support in expanding the infrastructure required.

Looking ahead, the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo in 2020 are giving a special impetus to the quest for a brighter and more progressive future.  For its part, the Japanese automobile industry will be working closely with the central and local governments, industry partners, and other relevant stakeholders in advancing a wide array of bold initiatives aimed at achieving safe, sustainable and genuinely innovative mobility in the years ahead.