TOKYO In a special report from the Associated Press (AP), AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama notes that many twenty-somethings in Japan aren’t interested in owning a car today. A lifestyle choice automakers are calling "demotorization," many Japanese youth feel owning a car in a congested and expensive city such as Tokyo is more trouble than its worth, and choose public transportation instead.
This has many automakers concerned, particularly when adding in the current troubles in the U.S. vehicle market. About half the autos produced in Japan are sold in Japan, while the other half are exported.
According to the report, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association predicts auto sales in Japan will fall to 4.86 million in 2009 below 5 million for the first time in more than three decades. This year, sales are projected at 5.11 million, the worst since 1980, said the AP report.
Kageyama reports that automakers and dealerships are looking for new ways to appeal to the young Japanese car buyer. For example, signing major league star Ichiro for TV ads and offering colorful vehicle accessories designed to appeal to young Japanese females.