Importers boosted May sales of overseas-built cars in Japan by 0.4% to 20,541 units compared with May 2001.

Passenger car sales were up 1.5% to 20,246 but trucks plunged 40.9% to 295, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association.

May was the second consecutive month in which imported vehicle sales increased year on year – they rose 3.4% in April.

Volkswagen remained top importer though its sales reduced 4.5% to 4,212 for a 20.51% slice of the import market in May.

Mercedes-Benz was second, down 19.2% to 3,167 while third-placed BMW selling boosted sales 1.3% to 2,747.

Chevrolet topped the US brands with sales up 3.8% to 597.

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