China-produced passenger vehicles are waiting to be shipped at the port of Lianyungang, eastern China’s Jiangsu province on March 5, 2018. The port handled a cargo capacity of nearly 40 million tons in the first two months of 2018, up 4 percent year on year. (Photo by Economic Daily)
China-produced passenger vehicles are waiting to be shipped at the port of Lianyungang, eastern China’s Jiangsu province on March 5, 2018. The port handled a cargo capacity of nearly 40 million tons in the first two months of 2018, up 4 percent year on year. (Photo by Economic Daily)

New vehicle sales in Japan for the year 2019 fell for the first time in three years, mainly due to sluggish demand following a series of natural disasters and a consumption tax increase, industry groups said on Monday.

According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, 5,195,216 units of new cars were sold last year in the country, down 1.5 percent from the previous year. Sales excluding those of minivehicles dropped 1.9 percent for the second straight year to 3,284,870 units.

Business24

In terms of brands, Nissan Motor Co. logged a 13.8 percent decline to 367,514 cars, apparently affected by management confusion and cost-cutting following the arrest of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn in November 2018.

Toyota Motor Corp. marked a 2.7 percent increase to 1,510,741 units, while sales of Honda Motor Co. fell 5.4 percent to 357,242 cars.

Meanwhile, sales of minicars, which have engines no larger than 660 cc, fell 0.7 percent to 1,910,346 units last year, the first drop in three years, the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association said.

“A series of natural disasters including typhoons (hitting wide areas of Japan in September and October) had a negative impact on the auto market,” an association spokesman told local media.

He added that the consumption tax hike to 10 percent from 8 percent starting Oct. 1 last year could also have been a factor. Enditem

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