Japan's new vehicle market declined by 1.7% to 387,525 units in December from 394,253 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

After strong rebounds in the previous two months from a third quarter disrupted by a series of natural disasters, the vehicle market turned negative in December – reflecting a further weakening in consumer sentiment as stock markets around the world fell and as uncertainty over international trade increased.

Full year vehicle sales increased 0.7% to 5,272,067 units in 2018 from 5,234,165 units in 2017, reflecting mainly a 4.2% rise in truck sales to 867,205 units. Passenger vehicle sales were 0.1% higher at 4,391,160 units, while medium and heavy duty bus sales were more than 12% lower at 13,702 units after strong growth in previous years.

Toyota was the main loser in 2018 with sales falling by over 5.0% to 1,508,647 units, while second-placed Honda saw its volumes rise by 3.1% to 747,226 units; Suzuki 714,594 units (+7.3%); Daihatsu 646,781 units (+2.5%); Nissan 616,033 units (+4.2%); and Mazda 220,743 units (+5.3%).

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