Japan's new vehicle market edged up by 1.2% to 479,428 units in February from weak year-earlier sales of 473,876 units, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Sales in the first two months of 2019 were up by 1.6% at 887,403 units, from 873,416 units in the same period of last year, after a volatile second half of 2018 when the economy was significantly disrupted by a series of natural disasters in the third quarter. 

The market in this period was driven higher by an 8.8% rise in truck sales to 141,533 units while sales of medium and large buses increased by 4.1% to 2,016 units. Passenger car sales struggled to make progress, however, with a rise of just 0.3% to 743,854 units.

Toyota saw its sales rise by 3.2% year-on-year to 246,553 units year-to-date, after declining by 5% in the whole of 2018, while second-placed Honda's sales rose by 4.5% to 130,859 units; Suzuki 124,065 (+6.3%); Daihatsu 117,136 units (+4.1%); Nissan 113,596 units (-5.9%); and Mazda 36,533 units (+0.3%).