Car sharing in Japan grows as vehicle sales continue to fall

According to a recent article in Japan Today, car sharing is catching on in Japan as well as here in the U.S.. The article claims that, “car sharing is shifting into a higher gear in Japan as people try to save on car maintenance costs and be more environmentally friendly at the same time,”.

While car sharing is growing, car sales are down. Vehicle sales in Japan hit a 28-year low in 2008, according to the figures released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA). Annual sales are expected to fall again in 2009. “We never imagined sales would fall this badly,” said JADA Director, Takeshi Fushimi. “This is a bleak situation.”

What is a bleak situation for auto dealers is great news for Japanese car sharing organizations. According to a survey done by the Eco-Mo Foundation, there were 19 car sharing organizations in Japan, with a total of 522 cars being shared by 3,875 members, as of August 2008. The numbers of cars and car stations more than doubled and the number of registered car sharing members increased by half since the same survey was done in January of 2007. Below is a photo of a car sharing site at a condominium in Japan.

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