April 8, 2004

JAMA Passenger Car and Motorcycle Market Trend Surveys
Fiscal Year 2003 Survey Results

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) has completed the compilation of data obtained from its fiscal 2003 passenger car and motorcycle market trend surveys.

The passenger car market trend survey is a nationwide, questionnaire-based survey of households that is conducted once every two years and is aimed at determining demand structure and forecasting qualitative shifts in demand. The motorcycle market trend survey—also nationwide, questionnaire-based, and administered every two years—targets new motorcycle buyers in order to identify changes taking place in the market.

The 2003 passenger car market trend survey revealed the following:

  • The average purchase price of new cars declined from the ¥2,152,000 reported in the previous survey (FY 2001) to ¥2,001,000 in FY 2003, attesting to increased user demand for greater economy.The average period of single ownership of vehicles rose from 6.2 years (2001 survey) to 6.5 years in FY 2003.Incentives cited by users for potential upcoming replacement purchases included (1) "If the Automobile Tax and other cost factors were reduced"; (2) "If extremely fuel-efficient models were marketed" (3) "If extremely low-priced models were marketed"; and other factors, reflecting users' growing concern with price and other cost issues.
  • Awareness of car navigation and ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) systems increased, reaching the high levels of 96% and 94%, respectively.

The 2003 motorcycle market trend survey revealed the following:

  • Of the different criteria applicable when deciding to purchase a motorcycle, 40% of respondents this time chose the "Low in price" criterion, up from 26% in the previous survey (FY 2001).Among mini-sized motorcycle (126cc-250cc) owners in their 20s and younger, the most popular vehicle-related recreation was "Customizing and dressing up the motorcycle" (49%).Assessing the impact on motorcycle use if the prohibition on tandem riding on highways were to be abolished, the most common responses among users of motorcycles of 126cc and over were (1) "Opportunities for tandem riding would increase" (41%); (2) "Activity spheres would expand" (38%); and (3) "Motorcycle use would expand" (37%).
  • For users of motorcycles of 126cc and over, 58% said that they would want to use a motorcycle ETC system ("Very much want to use" + "Moderately want to use").

A report on these surveys is being distributed to the public (see attachment) and survey results are also posted on the following JAMA Web pages.

Passenger car market trend survey:

Motorcycle market trend survey:

Market Trend Survey Activities—General Description

Passenger Cars:
In order to determine passenger car demand structure and facilitate forecasts for qualitative shifts in demand, the JAMA Passenger Car Market Survey Group's Market Survey Subcommittee conducts a nationwide questionnaire survey of households once every two years.

In order to track changes in the motorcycle market, the JAMA Motorcycle Market Survey Group's Market Survey Subcommittee conducts a nationwide questionnaire survey once every two years.

FY 2003 Market Trend Surveys—Outline of Implementation

Passenger Cars Motorcycles
Survey RegionNationwide Nationwide
Survey Target Households
(incl. single-person households)
New vehicle owners
Valid Responses5,298
(69.7% response rate)
(52.2% response rate)
Survey PeriodAugust 20-September 4, 2003 August 01-31, 2003

FY 2003 Market Trend Surveys—Survey Results (Summary)

Passenger Car Market Trend Survey

  1. Recent Market Trend Changes (Previous [FY 2001] survey resultsarrowCurrent survey results)
    • Slight increase in percentage of households nationwide owning passenger cars (79.0%arrow79.2%). Increases in households owning RVs (35.9%arrow37.0%) and households owning minicars [mini-passenger cars] (19.3%arrow22.7%). Among multiple vehicle-owning households, increases in "One car is an RV" ownership (56.5%arrow59.7%), "One car is a minicar" ownership (49.7%arrow53.2%), and "Both RV and minicar" ownership (24.4%arrow27.7%). Steady increase in average period of single ownership of vehicles (average of 6.5 years). Slight decrease in purchases of previously owned vehicles [i.e., used cars] (28%arrow27%). Sustained downward trend in average vehicle purchase price, underscoring users' financial priorities (average price decline from 2,152,000 yenarrow2,001,000 yen). 1995 and 2003 passenger-car user, cluster analysis-based results (analysis conducted on basis of 1995 and 2003 "Purchase priorities" data, with categorization and analysis of each "cluster" group): Group stressing high style = 21%; group stressing cabin space + leisure use = 14%; and group stressing safety + economy = 28%.
    • Among recent vehicle purchases, decrease in purchases of sedan-type passenger cars (FY 1995 67%arrow36%), and increases in purchases of minicars (FY 1995 12%arrow20%) and station wagons and RVs (FY 1995 22%arrow43%).

  2. Shifting Consumer Trends in the Automobile Market
    • In the safety priority user group, increase in safety as a priority for the "top priority" subgroup and the "priority" subgroup combined (49%arrow52%). High levels of safety awareness and safety equipment recognition. Car navigation system awareness was high (96%), but use rate low (29%). Factors most often mentioned as impeding ETC use were "High price of equipment"; "Infrequent use of toll roads" and "Use of ETC does not ease expressway congestion."
    • Among degrees of interest in use of onboard telematics, highest interested-in-use figures were recorded for "Emergency rescue services (GPS-based)"arrow46%; "News delivery services (news, stock prices, weather, etc.)"arrow35%; "Town, events, and restaurant information services"arrow31%.

  3. Changes in Ownership Awareness
    • Longer average period of single ownership of vehicles = 6.2 yearsarrow6.5 years. Incentives cited for potential upcoming vehicle replacement purchases - "If Automobile Tax or other costs are reduced"; "If extremely fuel-efficient cars are marketed"; "If extremely low-priced cars are marketed" - reflect an overriding preoccupation with cost factors. Among groups not owning cars (non-owners), increase in men in their 20s and younger (FY 1995 15%arrow18%); decrease in men in their 40s (FY 1995 8%arrow5%). Among reasons for giving up car ownership, increase in "Financial reasons" (FY 1995 27%arrow38%); decrease in "No longer have parking space availability" (FY 1995 18%arrow15%). Among advantages of ownership as envisioned by non-owners, increases in "Ability to take drives whenever desired" (FY 1995 38%arrow43%); "Easy to transport large or heavy items" (FY 1995 29%arrow39%); and "Sphere of activity would expand" (FY 1995 38%arrow39%).
    • In young user (20s) analysis, increase in average purchase price (FY 1995 1,978,000 yenarrow2,104,000 yen); among models purchased, increase in station wagons (FY 1995 9%arrow35%) and in minicars and mini "bonnet-type" station wagons (FY 1995 21%arrow27%).

  4. Parent-Child Involvement in Car Purchases and Car Use
    • Parent-child involvement when purchasing cars (in terms of offering full or partial opinions and advice) = "Parents advising children" 42%, "Children advising parents" 33%. Reasons for joint involvement included "Parents provide overall support, leading to parent-child involvement in car purchase" (90%); and "Parents and children reciprocally lend and borrow car, leading to parent-child involvement in car purchase" (85%).
    • Uses envisioned when parents and children ride together = "Local shopping and neighborhood trips and errands" (55%); "Errands and visits to large shopping centers" (50%); and "Shuttling to and from or accompanying on in-patient hospital visits, nursing care" (43%). These results point to an anticipated growing need for such uses with the "graying" of society.

Motorcycle Market Trend Survey

  1. New Motorcycle Buyer Survey (Previous [FY 2001] survey results arrow Current survey results)
    • Motorcycle use increased overall among people in their 20s and 30s (36%arrow39%); within that same user age category, the number of owners of 50cc-and-under models also increased (31%arrow36%). Increase in motorcycle users who hold passenger car driver's licenses (69%arrow80%) and decrease in users who hold motorcycle driver's licenses only (31%arrow21%). Increase in users expressing the desire to continue to ride motorcycles in the future (86%arrow92%). Decline in average years of motorcycle use (5.9 yearsarrow5.5 years). Increase in temporary ownership interruptions and repurchases (10%arrow14%). Among purchase decision priorities, increase in "Low price" (26%arrow40%). Among reasons for making new purchases, increase in "Low fuel and maintenance costs" (36%arrow42%).
    • Among reasons for purchasing an additional motorcycle, increase in "Varied use, depending on distance to destination" (33%arrow37%).

  2. Topics Survey
    1. Mini-sized motorcycle user survey
      • Though the domestic motorcycle market is generally in decline, demand for mini-sized motorcycles (126cc-250cc) has increased in recent years, with scooters selling especially well. Driving this demand are "Young users in their 20s and younger" - a change from conventional scooter owners.
      • "Sightings around town" have become a factor that prompt purchases, with the "customizing" of scooters, reflecting the wider trend of individualized, personal fashion, contributing to the popularity of this vehicle class.

    2. Imported motorcycle (reverse imports, overseas models) user survey
      • Both "reverse imports" and overseas models recorded slight increases in demand, the former category bolstered by "Driving performance" and the latter by a "Status symbol" appeal. In terms of users, these models are positioned differently from their domestic counterparts, with the percentage of overseas model owners aged in their 40s and older particularly high.

    3. Lifting of highway tandem-riding prohibition (Proposed)
      • Of current owners/users of the 126cc-and-over motorcycle class (for which highway riding is allowed), 63% favored the abolition of the regulation prohibiting tandem riding ("Highly favor lifting of regulation" + "Moderately favor lifting of regulation").

    4. Introduction of motorcycle electronic toll collection (ETC) use
      • Of current owners/users of the 126cc-and-over motorcycle class (for which highway riding is allowed), 58% replied they would want to use a motorcycle ETC system ("Very much want to use" + "Moderately want to use").

    5. Introduction of automatic transmission (AT)-only motorcycle driver's license
      • Of current motorcycle owners not holding large-sized motorcycle driver's licenses, 29% expressed the desire to obtain AT-only licenses if such a license category were introduced. Of previous owners of motorcycles not holding large-sized motorcycle driver's licenses, 16% expressed the desire to "Ride again if such a category were introduced" or "Would consider learning to ride again if such a category were introduced."