Japan's new vehicle market continued to grow in August, by 5.5% to 355,308 units from 336,661 a year earlier, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The positive market performance follows a strong second quarter for the Japanese economy with revised data showing annual GDP growth of around 2.5%, driven by a pick-up in consumer spending and investment growth.

In the first eight months of the year, the market expanded by just over 8% to 3,565,396 units compared with 3,299,615 a year ago, reflecting mainly strong demand for passenger vehicles. 

Passenger vehicle sales increased by 8.5% to 2,994,723 in the eight month period, driven by particularly strong demand for compact and subcompact models. Truck sales increased by 5.6% to 558,983 while bus sales were 12.8% higher at 11,690 after exceptionally strong growth last year. 

Toyota's sales increased by 6.9% to 1,083,680 in the eight month period while Honda followed with a 2% increase to 476,173. Suzuki's sales amounted to 457,597 (+8.2%); Nissan 435,774 (+23.2%); Daihatsu 426,841 (+8.7%); and Mazda 142,724 (+2.4%).