Japan has seen a leap in sales of imported vehicles. An industry body has said the 17.1% jump in May over the same month last year is down to the popularity of new models.

The rise, which includes sales of Japanese models made abroad, to 14,691 units, was the seventh straight month of increases, the figures from the Japan Automobile Importers Association showed.

That said, Japanese brands imported fell 9.5% to 1,168 units. Imported foreign brands rose 20.1% to 13,523 units.

Volkswagen was the number one seller with 3,634 vehicles, up 28.7%. BMW was at number two with sales of 2,599 units, up 30.4%. Mercedes-Benz was the third largest seller with 2,061 vehicles, up 14.5%.