Japan's new vehicle market rose by 3.3% to 441,534 units in July from already strong year earlier sales of 427,547 units, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

With sluggish economic growth in the country, there is little to drive the market above last year's reasonably buoyant levels, however. Global trade tensions and a slowdown in economic growth from last year have also impacted consumer and business confidence in the country.

The market in the first seven months of the year was still 1.1% lower at 3,174,012 units from 3,210,088 units in the same period of last year, reflecting mainly a 1.6% fall in passenger vehicle sales to 2,660,912 units while truck sales increased by just 1.7% to 504,833 units. Medium and heavy-duty bus sales were almost 17% lower at 8,267 units after strong growth in previous years.

Toyota's sales fell by 7.5% to 903,404 units in the seven-month period, while second-placed Honda saw volumes rise by 3.4 % to 446,615 units; Suzuki 434,538 units (+5.1%); Daihatsu 389,259 units (+1.6%); Nissan 387,050 units (-2.1%); and Mazda 135,451 units (+5.1%).