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2022 Japan Consumer Survey on Next-Generation Automobiles

Consumers' ideal specifications of PHEV/EV are not an ‘empty wish’. It is quite likely that Next-Gen automobile markets will grow in Japan soon.

Attitude toward Car Ownership

50% nationwide and 70% of the residents in Tokyo 23 wards do not feel it is nessesary to own a private car, while 70% in rural areas need private cars daily. Car ownership is weighed heavily in rural areas in Japan. That would be mainly due to the fact that public transportations in rural areas are relatively limited while urban ares have many options. Neverthless, sharing cars services have not yet become popular overall.

However many Japanese consumers acknowledge sharing cars favolably becasue they are free from maintenance. In fact many consuemrs have already been using sharing car services on their business/private trips. Considering the fact that there are quite a lot of urban dwellers do not own cars, sharing car services would be a viable options in Japan as long as they are equipped with reliability, ubiquitous, and easiness to use, which characteristics of car sharing sercvices are all highly appreciated by the survey respondents.

Purchase Behavior

The most important factor for purchasinga car is the costs (TCO including purchase cost, fuel cost and maintenance cost). That would be resasonable because a privately-owned car is nessesary for a daily life in rural areas. The Japanese minicar and compact cars are always ranked highly in the list of new car sales. ICE and HEV are the most selected powertrain of the cars which consumers intend to buy within the next 3 years while PHEV and EV are lagged behind.

The budget for purchasing a car is 2 to 2.49 million yen. The typical method of payment is in cash while leasing and residual value payment are not popular methods in Japan.

Consumer profiles and powertrain selections

The ratio of PHEV or EV purchaser is higher in those who live in urban areas and those who earn more income. On the contrary, consumers who rent houses tend to be less willing to purchase them, which might be related to its difficulty to install electric charger at home.

One of the factors which make difference between urban dwellers and rural dwellers would be the availability of the charging spots. On the other hand, the prices of PHEV/EV would be still pretty expensive for lower income earners, which would be the reason why higher income earners tend to accept those cars more.

Implications for next-gen automobile market in Japan

Although the ratio of the consumers who intend to purchase PHEV or EV within the next 3 years is still limited, the ratio increase up to 40% if it includes consumers who consider to purchase PHEV or EV 'sometime in the future'. We could say that the potential needs for PHEV and EV is quite a lot in Japan. To materialize this demand, it would be necessary to clear at lesat the two loadblocks: unafforable price and not-so-developed electric charging infrastructure.

The ideal specifications of PHEV and EV for Japanese consuers would be summarized as below:

(1) Budget: less than 2.5 million yen
(2) Resale value in 5 years: more than 30%
(3) Body type: minicars and compact minivans
(4) Milage at full charge: more than 500 km
(5) Be able to charge at home
(6) Charging on the go:Less than 10 minutes

Although not all criterias have been met at present, they are not nessesarily far from where PHEV and EV are now. The dawn of PHEV and EV market would break in Japan soon.

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