Drive to roll out new cars in Japan ahead of tax hike
JAPANESE carmakers will release new models beginning this summer, having concluded that there would be a rush
to buy before a consumption tax hike
that is planned for April next year.
On July 26, Fuji Heavy Industries unveiled
a new version of its flagship Impreza for release
The new model features a U-shaped air bag that is deployed from the front to protect pedestrians.
Nissan will release a new version of the Serena minivan this month that emphasizes automated driving technology.
The model automatically maintains distance between vehicles, allowing the driver to stay
in the same lane comfortably even in traffic jams.
In autumn, Toyota will release a plug-in hybrid model, the Prius PHV, that travels more than
twice the distance than the previous model
when powered only by electricity.
Mazda's Axela, which was released in July,
is equipped with new technology to stabilise cornering by automatically adjusting engine output.
Domestic new car sales have declined for the second consecutive year since the consumption
tax was increased to 8 per cent in fiscal 2014.
Sales have also been hurt by the stagnant economy.
Automakers usually spend about four years developing a new model and then decide on the
timing of release after analysing market trends.
The industry deemed the planned tax hike in April next year as its first good business chance for a while and was eager to use it to boost business.
Some observers believe the tax hike delay
will not hurt sales while others are concerned
about the move.
"The delay may spur clients to put off buying
a new car," said an executive of a leading
The cost of keeping a large inventory of
new cars will balloon if they are not sold, and
that may affect the development of new models.
Intense advertising battles are expected
to take place from now on.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK