Sales of imported vehicles in Japan increased by 2.1% to 351,020 units in 2017 from 343,800 units in the previous year, according to data released by the Japan Automobile Importers Association.

While imports accounted for less than 7% of total vehicle sales in the country last year, foreign brands enjoyed their best year in Japan in more than two decades.

Overall vehicle sales in the country rose by 5.3% to 5,234,166 units last year, meaning local manufacturers still outperformed in this market.

Sales of foreign brands increased by 3.7% to 306,088 units last year, led by Mercedes-Benz which posted a 1.2% sales rise to 68,221 units.

BMW came second with a 3.9% rise to 52,527 units, followed by Volkswagen group with 49,040 units (+3.8%).

Sales of Japanese branded vehicles produced overseas declined by 7.5% to 44,932 units, with sales of imported Toyotas rising by 7.4% to 17,057 units while imported Nissans fell by 16.5% to 15,211 units.

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