Japan saw September car sales grow the most in 14 months, adding to signs of a recovery in the world’s third-largest economy. In stark contrast, South Korean automakers sold in their home market fewer units than in February.
On the Japanese home market, deliveries of passenger and commercial vehicles in September went up by a great 17% to 522,760 units, according to data released by local car associations . That stopped the four-month drops and helped July-to-September sales grow by 2.3%, the first gain in four quarters.
“The biggest force that’s been giving domestic auto sales a boost is the improvement in the markets and optimism among consumers,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “The improvement in the economy and new models will continue to buoy demand.”
Honda led gains last month with deliveries growing a staggering 40%, while Toyota saw domestic deliveries, excluding minicars, grow 12.5%, Nissan went up 16% and Mazda jumped 14.5%.
On the other hand, the sales gains in Japan were in contrast to South Korea, where Hyundai Motor’s sales in its home market dipped 20% last month, leading to a 13% decrease in industry wide deliveries, excluding imports. Based on Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association data, the local automakers sold 101,021 vehicles in September, the fewest since February.