Japan: majors see fall in flat glass market share

Japanese domestic shipments of flat glass in 2006 rose 2.5% from a year earlier to 321.59 million sq. meters. However, the top three companies, Asahi Glass Co., Nippon Sheet Glass Co. and Central Glas…

Japanese domestic shipments of flat glass in 2006 rose 2.5% from a year earlier to 321.59 million sq. meters. However, the top three companies, Asahi Glass Co., Nippon Sheet Glass Co. and Central Glass Co. all lost market share. The decrease in their shares was blamed on the growing use of low-cost imports in large buildings, although automakers increased domestic output. As car companies increased domestic output in 2006 by 6.3% from the previous year, market leader Asahi Glass, which has strong business ties with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., saw a rise in shipments of autoglass. Nippon Sheet Glass has also supplied more to Toyota and other automakers. Central Glass was able to supply sizable amounts by expanding deals mainly with Suzuki Motor Corp. though demand from its core customer Nissan Motor Co. was slow. However, the three companies lost share in the sector for building-use flat glass which account for 60% of the domestic flat glass market, due to competition from Chinese and other foreign makers.