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issue: March 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

Tokyo Report
RY 2002 Japanese Domestic HVACR Shipments

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The Japan Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association (JRAIA) announced domestic shipments for refrigeration year (RY) 2002.

Domestic shipments of room air-conditioners (RACs) in RY 2002 totaled 6,901,805 units, down 10.1 percent over RY 2001. Those of packaged air-conditioners (PACs) totaled 668,116, down 8.9 percent.

In the RAC segment, the heat-pump type accounted for 6,757,826 units, occupying a large share (97.9 percent of the total), while the inverter-type totaled 6,604,921 units (95.7 percent). The vast majority of Japanese RACs have inverter control.

In the PAC segment, the heat-pump type accounted for 598,615 units, occupying 89.6 percent of the total. Although JRAIA's statistics do not cover the inverter-type PACs, about 25-30 percent of PACs up to 15-hp seem to have inverter control, according to Daikin Industries' estimate.

Gas engine heat-pump air-conditioner (GHP) shipments stood at 40,826 units, down 11.8 percent from RY 2000.

Shipments of centrifugal chillers dropped drastically to 235 units, down 41.4 percent compared to RY 2001. Positive displacement chillers and absorption-type chillers dropped from RY 2001, numbering 8,658 units, down 13.9 percent, and 2,914 units, down 10.7 percent, respectively. Shipments of ice thermal storage systems totaled 209 sets, down 9.9 percent, while 9,010 sets (down 6.8 percent) of ice-storage-aided PACs were shipped.

Larger Model RACs Focused in Winter

Domestic RAC business drew attention as the sales competition intensified with the arrival of winter. Aimed at attaining favorable results, Japanese RAC makers endeavored to persuade customers to accept earlier releases of new products. The overall sales for the October-December 2002 quarter targeted by the industry as a whole is 1-million units or more.

Since the main models released by Japanese RAC makers for RY 2003 are capable of realizing comfortable heating comparable in economy with a kerosene heater, they can be satisfactorily offered as year-round products.

RY 2002 demand, which totaled 6.9-million units, is almost level with RY 2000 demand, up 500,000 units or less over RY 1999 demand. The rate of penetration into homes reached 87 percent in 2001, and demand is centered on replacements.

In these circumstances, 4.0-kW or larger models are the main focus in the winter RAC business. The share of these models jumped to about 14 percent by RY 2001, numbering about 1-million units.

In the domestic market, the unit prices of RACs are dropping sharply. Some makers say the actual selling prices dropped by about ´10,000 (approximately U.S. $84) in RY 2002 season compared to the previous season. Recovering the decline is becoming a major challenge to the industry.

One way to stop the unit price drop is to expand the sales share of ultra energy-saving units, which have attained energy savings that dramatically exceed the energy saving reference values designated in the Revised Energy Saving Law. Another measure is to expand the sales share of 4.0-kW or larger models.

In the segment larger than 4.0 kW, all OEMs have launched high-end models featuring ultra energy savings or energy savings, as they can be ideally offered as models with higher added value.

One OEM said, "Behind the expanding share of larger models lies changes in habitual patterns such as a preference for larger living space. In view of the growing demand for lager models, the makers intend to increase sales in this segment. Because of the larger heating capacity, large models are ideal for proposals in winter."

This report is filed by Wasaku Ishida, Japanese correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine, and vice president, JARN (Japan Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News).


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