Vehicle sales in Japan are expected to fall 15.6% in the next fiscal year as a result of an increase to consumption tax, according to JAMA.

JAMA said that vehicle sales for the year starting April 1 are projected at 4.75m units, slipping below the 5m level for the first time in three years.

Vehicle sales excluding minicars are expected to drop 13.5 percent from the previous year to 2.94m while those of minicars are projected to plunge 18.8% to 1.81m.

The forecast 'payback' declines follow pulled forward sales ahead of the April sales tax rise to 8% from the current 5%.

A JAMA official told the Kyodo news agency said that the industry is expected to face a severe sales decline, especially after July, since automakers have been receiving strong orders that will carry over after April.

Passenger car sales are forecast to drop 16.3% to 4m units, while truck sales are likely to slip 11.8% to 736,000 units.

In fiscal 2013 ending March 31, JAMA is expecting vehicle sales in Japan to post an increase of 8.1% from a year earlier to 5,630,800 units.