New vehicle registrations in Japan fell slightly last month, by 0.5% to 476,771 units from 479,373 a year earlier, according to data rfrom the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

Economic growth in Japan remained sluggish, despite low unemployment levels in the country, negative interest rates and other government stimulus measures introduced to help drive up domestic consumption.

The overall vehicle market in September followed a trend prevalent throughout much of the year – that of strong demand for medium and large passenger vehicles cancelled out by much lower sales of smaller models, particularly mini-vehicles.

The mini-car segment, in particular, has been undermined by Mitsubishi Motors which admitted earlier this year that it overstated the fuel economy of its models. Its mini-vehicle sales have fallen off a cliff this year, as well as those it supplies for sale under the Nissan badge.

In the first nine months of 2016, total vehicle sales fell 3.4% to 3,776,386 units from 3,908,148 units a year earlier. Passenger vehicle sales declined by 3.7% to 3,157,096 units in this period; truck sales were 1.9% lower at 607,270 units; bus sales rose by 16.7% to 12,020 units.

Toyota outperformed the market over the nine-month period thanks in part to its limited exposure to the mini-vehicle segment. Its sales rose by 5.4% year-on-year to 1,157,914 units. Second placed Honda reported a 5.7% sales drop to 536,995 units; Suzuki 480,908 units (-2.4%); Daihatsu 443,303 units (-4.9%); Nissan 401,157 units (-14.9%); and Mazda 161,408 units (-20.2%).