June 17, 2002

Results of JAMA's Fiscal 2001 Mini-Vehicle Use Fact-Finding Survey

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association conducted its fiscal 2001 fact-finding survey on the use of mini-vehicles in Japan and recently compiled the results (JAMA) has in the form of the report attached herewith.

This survey seeks to establish a detailed and concrete understanding of owner awareness, user segments, regional characteristics and other facts pertaining to the ownership and use of mini-vehicles. It has been conducted every other year since fiscal 1977.

<Survey Framework Summary>

Survey Region Nationwide (excluding Okinawa)
Survey Targets Mini-vehicle owner households and businesses
Valid Responses 2,797 samples (response rate of 53.2%)
Survey Period June-July 2001

<Survey Results Summary>
(1) Changes in Mini-Vehicle Use

  • Women account for 60% of the owners of mini-vehicles, while the share of senior users (age 60 and over) is also high (having increased to 17% in this survey from 14% in the fiscal 1999 survey).
  • Some 80% of mini-vehicle owner households also own other vehicles, while an increase was identified in dual ownership of mini-vehicles with standard- or small-size cars (up to 63% compared to 55% in the previous survey). The single most cited principal use was for shopping (36%), with "economy" cited as the reason for selecting a mini-vehicle in 65% of the cases.

(2) Mini-Vehicles Used for Everyday Travel in Areas with Inconvenient Public Transportation

  • Mini-vehicles are primarily owned by consumers in ex-urban and rural areas.
  • Ex-urban mini-vehicle users tend to feel strongly that the public transportation in their area is inconvenient, with a large percentage responding that there is no alternative means of transport except for automobiles. Mini-vehicles were reported to have high levels of use frequency and distance traveled, with 90% of users saying that they plan to choose a mini-vehicle for their next car purchase as well.

(3) Mini-Vehicles Used by Seniors

  • Among senior users (age 60 and over), use for shopping was the highest at 36%, while distances traveled were reported to be relatively low in comparison to use frequency. These and other answers are viewed as evidence of the considerable inroads made by mini-vehicles in the daily lifestyle patterns of seniors.
  • Seniors expressed high awareness of their selection of mini-vehicles as a means of everyday transportation, along with appreciation of the merits of these vehicles in helping them to get out and about as they please.
(4) Mini-Vehicles Used by Women
  • The mini-vehicle ownership rate among women is higher in ex-urban areas, and particularly so for senior women. Use frequency is high for shopping and other everyday activities.
  • Mini-vehicle needs were found to be high among women with preschool children, while these women hold strong expectations that driving mini-vehicles will expand the sphere of their daily activities.

(5) Mini-Vehicles Used for Business

  • In the commercial sector, mini-vehicle use frequency is higher among small-scale businesses distinguished by small-volume/high-frequency use patterns. The operators of such enterprises say that they would be inconvenienced if mini-vehicles were to vanish from the scene. There is a strong sense among these owners that they will choose mini-vehicles the next time they purchase as well, with the reasons cited including the need to negotiate cramped roads and other practical factors.