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Tokyo Drift? Japan’s Wealthy Are Investing in Luxury Supercars Amid a Weakening Yen

New registrations for vehicles costing more than $136,000 have risen 64 percent year over year.

Tokyo at night Getty Images

As Japan’s economy continues to slow, the country’s elite has found a new way to safeguard funds: luxury supercars.

Six-figure rides look to be a solid investment amid a weakening yen and supply chain issues. As a result, sales of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and the like have skyrocketed over the past couple of years, as reported by Bloomberg. New registrations of cars costing more than $136,000 (¥20 million) jumped 64 percent to 5,462 vehicles this year compared to the same period in 2021, according to data from the Japan Automobile Importers Association. Last year, registrations also jumped 75 percent.

The availability of supercars will most likely remain limited due to the ongoing chip shortage in the global auto industry. Inflation and the struggling yen may also make the vehicles more expensive. Collectors don’t seem to be deterred, though. Ken Miyao, an analyst at automobile research company Carnorama told Bloomberg that “the number of people who want to buy is definitely increasing, and demand for supercars won’t fall.”

As demand continues to outstrip supply, however, the used-car prices in Japan will only grow and smart collectors can make a pretty penny. “It is better to invest in ultra-luxury cars for their resale value rather than holding cash,” Miyao adds.

Interestingly, the number of wealthy individuals has also increased in Japan despite the widespread economic uncertainty. The number of executives with a paycheck of more than $686,000 (¥100 million) rose 22 percent to 663 people during the fiscal year through March, according to Tokyo Shoko Research. That means there could even be more deep-pocketed individuals splashing out on blue-chip four-wheelers.

After more than two years of lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions, there is pent-up demand from wealthy shoppers, too. Drivers are more willing than ever to fork out for an exotic.

“If you don’t drive them now, then when?” Yasuhiro Suyama, president of the Japan Supercar Association, told Bloomberg.

Don’t be surprised if you see a few more luxury cars on the road than usual on your next trip to Tokyo.

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