After in April the country’s sales tax rose for the first time in many years, auto sales in May only dipped 1.2% from the same period in 2013, easing fears that huge declines would follow.
According to statistics from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association, the country’s sales in May saw a total of 363,370 vehicles.
“We are seeing a slight improvement compared to April, but we are still at a low level,” said Yoshitaka Hayashi, a director with the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.
Back in April, the local sales tax increased 3% to an 8% level, with auto sales falling 5.5%, while for May the passenger car deliveries decreased by 6.9% and the sales of minicars with an engine size lower than 660 cc grew 5.3%.
Toyota, the country’s and world’s biggest automaker saw its sales dip 10.1% to 98,472 units. Rival carmaker Honda saw its deliveries increased 18.8% to 53,991 cars, while Nissan managed a more modest rise of 7% to 43,357 vehicles.
The Japanese auto associations forecast that because of the sales tax hike, the country’s auto sales for the financial year to end-March 2015 could go down 15.6% to a total of 4.75 million units.