Japan auto sales barely up in 2013 image

Annual automobile sales in Japan rose just 0.1 % in 2013 to 5.38 million vehicles, industry data showed on Monday, as strong sales from September countered earlier declines after green car subsidies ended in September 2012.

Officials from Japan Automobile Dealers Association and Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association said sales in the world’s third-biggest auto market are likely to continue growing year-on-year in the first three months of 2014 but outlook is murky following April when the sales tax will be raised from 5 to 8%.

In 2013, mini-vehicles with 660cc displacement posted record annual sales of 2.1 million vehicles, up 6.7 % from a year earlier, helped by new models with better fuel efficiency and safety features, an official from Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association said.

In December, industry-wide auto sales rose 25 % to 423,210 vehicles, data from the two associations showed. Excluding 660cc mini-vehicles, sales at top-ranked Toyota, including the Lexus brand, rose 11.9 %, while Honda soared 105.3 % and Nissan increased just 1.0 %.

Via Reuters