Japan auto sales plunge as young lose interest

Like many Japanese of his generation, the 28-year-old musician and part-time maintenance worker says owning a car is more trouble than it’s worth, especially in a congested city where monthly parking runs as much as 30,000 yen ($330), and gas costs $3.50 a gallon (about 100 yen a liter).

That kind of thinking – which automakers here have dubbed “kuruma banare,” or “demotorization” – is a U-turn from earlier generations of Japanese who viewed car ownership as a status symbol. The trend is worrying Japan’s auto executives, who fear the nation’s love affair with the auto may be coming to an end.

“Young people’s interest is shifting from cars to communication tools like personal computers, mobile phones and services,” said Yoichiro Ichimaru, who oversees domestic sales at Toyota.


Having lived in Japan (small and mega-city) for many years, I’d still prefer to use the subway and train system there. It’s the most convenient way of getting around the city. However, if you are outside of the big cities like Kyushu, cars are still the best way to get around.

I tried driving in Osaka. No thanks haha. Also same in germany. Driving is fun but the train system is remarkable.

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