Due in part to the booming market for the kei or mini car, Suzuki has overtaken Honda for third place behind Toyota and Nissan in the race for Japanese domestic car and light commercial vehicle sales. For the period between January and October 2006, Suzuki outsold Honda by a margin of nearly 7000 units.

It seems that even as the Japanese economy recovers, the Japanese consumer sentiment has shifted. They feel cars are now a commodity and are more reluctant to pay the higher costs associated with larger cars. Kei cars are also cheaper to produce, helping to keep the average cost in the market around one million yen ($9000 US). The kei segment, with engines limited to 660 cc, have only three manufacturers (Suzuki, Daihatsu and Mitsubishi) and account for 35% of the 6 million vehicles sold in Japan each year.

[Source: Shiotsu]

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