April 2019

Trends in Japan’s Standard Truck Market
Summary of Results of JAMA’s Fiscal 2018 Survey

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has released the findings of its standard truck market trends survey carried out in fiscal year 2018 (year end: March 31, 2019).

This JAMA survey is conducted once every two years to monitor the status of standard truck ownership, purchases, patterns of use, changes in transport needs and resulting responses, shifts in the distribution environment, and other market-related trends.

The fiscal 2018 survey focused on the perspectives of standard truck owners as well as users of freight transport services and looked particularly closely at:
-The extent of and intentions with respect to driver shortages;
-Expectations and concerns with respect to autonomous driving and platooning;
-Awareness of and initiatives to increase safety; and
-Efforts by freight transport services to optimize efficiency in delivery operations and the response of the market.

Survey results revealed the following notable trends in regard to:

  • The business climate
    With the improvements seen in the business environment in fiscal 2018, actual vehicle operation rates for standard trucks increased both in the freight transport industry and for trucks for individual corporate use. Users of freight transport services, however, expressed concern over a possible business downturn going forward and other potentially adverse factors.
  • Demand for new trucks
    The decline in Japan’s total freight transport volume experienced in recent years having levelled out, survey results showed that standard truck purchasing intent among larger-sized and especially well-performing enterprises is high.
  • Extent of and intentions with respect to driver shortages
    Japan is experiencing a growing shortage of commercial vehicle drivers overall and a particularly severe shortage of drivers of heavy-duty vehicles. To help reverse these shortages, industry efforts are being made to improve commercial vehicle drivers’ working hours and compensation packages.
  • Expectations and concerns with respect to autonomous driving and platooning
    It is widely hoped in the freight transport industry that autonomous driving technology and truck platooning will resolve the shortage of drivers and reduce road accident occurrence. However, survey respondents confirmed that greater clarity concerning liability in the case of accident occurrence, for example, is necessary.
  • Awareness of and initiatives to increase safety
    Dashboard cameras are increasingly in use on board standard trucks, and survey responses showed that they are the leading onboard safety support device with which truck owners intend to equip their vehicles. Within the freight transport industry, driver sobriety and other health-condition checks prior to vehicle operation are viewed as playing an essential role and there is also strong demand for alcohol interlocks. Safety enhancement measures in standard trucks for individual corporate use are also expanding through the use of safety support devices.
  • Efforts to optimize delivery efficiency in freight transport services and the response of the market
    Businesses that provide freight transport services are increasingly requesting the cooperation of the users of their services to facilitate greater efficiency in delivery operations (through reductions in non-deliverability rates and therefore fewer loading/unloading operations, etc. for individual deliveries). The response from the market has, however, been less than satisfactory and the delivery efficiency issue remains problematic.

More detailed information on the results of this survey is available, in Japanese only, on the JAMA website (http://www.jama.or.jp/).

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