New vehicle sales in Japan fell by 4.6% to 382,876 units in January, from 401,366 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
The shrinking vehicle market reflected continued weakness in the Japanese economy, with the latest government data showing a 1.4% contraction in annual GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The vehicle market last month was driven lower by sharply reduced sales of small size and mini-passenger vehicles and trucks.
Overall passenger vehicle sales declined 4.4% to 328,994 units while truck sales were 6.5% lower at 52,909 units. Bus sales rose by over 34% to 973.
Toyota sales rose 3.8% to 108,450 units last month while second placed Honda saw sales plummet 19.5% to 51,209 units; Nissan 50,508 units (-11.2%); Daihatsu 48,191 units (-4.7%); Suzuki 47,843 units (+1.7%); and Mazda 20,948 units (-7.9%).