The dealers who import foreign cars to Japan saw their businesses increase unexpectedly after the March 11 natural disaster, which heavily disrupted the domestic car industry. Many clients who were set to buy luxury Japanese brands changed their minds because of the long waiting times, and chose foreign brands like BMW and Audi instead.
BMW is having a great period in Japan, with sales across the country up by 56 percent in April. That compares to a 45 percent fall in sales for rival Japanese brand Lexus,which is made by Toyota.
“Customers have told me some Lexus models won’t arrive until November,” Jun Kubota, a sales manager at a BMW dealership in central Tokyo, told Bloomberg. “So we’re hearing some people say, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to try a BMW’. It may be inappropriate to say, but this is an opportunity for us,” he said.
The trends for the whole market show clearly that the effects of the quake were extreme: Sales of all imported brands rose by 21 percent in April, while the overall car market plummeted by 47 percent.