The trend mirrors the retail sector, where sales of Japanese cars increased by 12.5% this year.
A new survey, carried out by Provecta Car Plan, which provides schemes offering an alternative to the company car, has shown that the popularity of Japanese cars has tripled since 2002.
The company says that in 2002, Japanese cars made up 3% of Provecta's fleet while last year their popularity tripled to 9%.
Provecta sales director Nick Phillips said: 'It is interesting to note that our sales reflect those in the retail sector, showing how closely aligned they are, even though they come from a company car scenario. Drivers are clearly able to switch their attitudes from 'company car driver' to 'private motorist' when making the move to employee car ownership schemes.'
Provecta cites improved running costs as the main factor in the rising popularity of Japanese cars. Phillips added: “The Japanese manufacturers have all seen improved residual values over recent years. This, coupled with exceptional reliability and performance, has led to significantly lower monthly running costs.
'These costs are all available to potential employee car ownership drivers to view on our website, alongside other manufacturers' figures.'