Japan remains a good market for expensive cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 2, 2012

When the Japanese economy gets worse, sales of highly expensive cars go up even as spending for daily necessities drops. The world's most expensive car accident took place in Japan at the rural Yamaguchi prefecture last December when there was a pile-up that included a Lamborghini and eight Ferraris.

A total of 13 vehicles were part of the crash, with an estimated cost of nearly $4 million, according to Sports Nippon. The crash happened 800 kilometers outside Tokyo. Notably, the Ferraris were all registered in Kyushu, Japan's southern main island. Japan’s economy has been struggling for the past 20 years but it continues to be a lucrative market for the Italian carmaker and its competitors.

In fact, these companies are shifting their target market to those outside the capital in order to benefit from the personal savings of Japanese citizens amounting to 400 trillion yen ($5 trillion). Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Insurance Research Institute Inc., said that when the economy is sluggish, people have a tendency to use their money to get “extraordinary experiences." McLaren Automotive Ltd., which is known for its prowess in Formula 1, put up its first Asia dealership in Osaka for its MP4-12C, a sports car that produces 592hp and is priced at about $350,000.

But only two blocks away, a space was leased by Ferrari to display new models such as the $300,000 California HS convertible. Last winter, Ferrari opened its biggest iggest showroom in Asia, about 300km farther in the west, in Hiroshima.

Takanori Mizuno, sales manager of Hakko Automotive Industries Co., a local partner, said that McLaren believes in the high potential for McLaren at the Kansai region around Osaka. The showroom opened last March. It features a single MP4-12C in orange and a vintage McLaren F1 racer that featured the name of Ayrton Senna, the late Brazilian drive.

Topics: japan

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