Japan's new vehicle market continued to expand strongly in March, by 8.7% to 691,375 units from weak year earlier sales of 635,901 units, according to registration data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

First quarter sales expanded by 7.3% to 1,577,750 units from 1,470,104 units in the same period of last year, driven by a strong rebound in passenger vehicle sales. Passenger car sales increased by 7.8% to 1,340,512 units in this period on continued strong demand for compact and sub-compact models in particular.

Truck sales increased by 4.8% to 232,070 units in this period, while bus sales were just 3.1% higher at 5,168 units after exceptionally strong growth last year. 

Toyota reported a 14.5% sales rise to 461,920 units over the three month period, with Honda following in second place – albeit with just a 1.7% rise to 219,047 units. Nissan's sales amounted to 213,026 units (+12.2%); Suzuki 198,299 units (+8.8%); Daihatsu 175,818 units (-2.3%); and Mazda 70,237 units (1.9%).