New vehicle sales in Japan including minivehicles fell 21.6% in June from a year earlier to 351,828 units, declining for the ninth consecutive month, industry bodies said on Friday.

The drop was smaller than the declines of 33.4% in May and 47.3% in April, according to Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association reports cited by Kyodo News.

Excluding minivehicles, sales in June decreased 23.3% to 225,024 units, falling for the 10th consecutive month and recording the lowest sales volume for the month since the industry began compiling the data in 1968.

Sales of passenger cars fell 23.9% to 202,345 vehicles and those of trucks slipped 17.5% to 22,035 units. Dealers sold 644 buses, down 29.3%.

New vehicle sales between January and June were down 30.5% at 1,195,179 units, marking the second lowest sales volume, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

The 11 March earthquake and tsunami damaged auto parts factories in northeastern Japan and dented production, squeezing shipments to dealers and exacerbating the weak sales trend.

But automakers began to deliver more vehicles to showrooms as a recovery in parts supply lifted their output, observers said.

”The recovery trend is becoming clearer,” a Japan Automobile Dealers Association official said.

By automaker, sales of Toyota Motor, excluding Lexus, fell 37.5% to 87,671 units and those of Honda dropped 32.3% to 30,040 units, while Nissan Motor’s sales rose 4.2% to 45,113 units.

Sales of minivehicles with engines of up to 660 cc declined 18.3% in June to 126,804 units, down for the ninth consecutive month, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association said.

Among minivehicle makers, Suzuki Motor’s sales slipped 15.3% to 41,515 units and Daihatsu Motor’s sales fell 13.7% to 47,393 units.

Minivehicle sales in the first six months of 2011 were down 22.7% at 724,068 units.