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JAPAN: Auto sales up 2.7% in 2000

By just-auto.com editorial team | 5 January 2001

The Japan Automobile Dealers' Association reported that sales of new cars, trucks and buses in Japan rose 9.1% in December, the third straight month of gains, though vehicle sales for 2000 were up just 2.7% to 4.09 million, the first increase in Japan since 1996.

In December, 321,173 vehicles were sold nation-wide with the rising sales attributed to the popularity of new and redesigned small passenger cars.

Passenger car sales rose 5.1% to 236,822 vehicles. Truck sales were up 22,5% to 83 496 units but bus sales sank 6.2% to 855 units.

Analysts say that the numerous new model launches in 2000, combined with encouraging signs of an improvement in Japan's previously flagging economy, helped boost vehicle sales.

However, there is concern that the apparent recovery will not last long and that the rise in vehicle sales will last only as long as consumer spending grows.

Small cars posted the biggest sales gains but, in the other market segments, only newly-redesigned mid-sized sedans and station wagons showed any significant volume growth.

Vehicle sales in Japan are expected to increase by around 3% in 2001, according to industry analysts.