Used vehicle sales down 0.3% in ’99

Sales of used vehicles in fiscal 1999 totaled 5,523,051 units, down 0.3 percent from the previous year for the third consecutive yearly fall, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Wednesday.

However, an association official said that while a decline was registered for the whole fiscal year, sales have been picking up since January.

“We hope sales will show an increase in fiscal 2000,” he said.

In March, the final month of the fiscal year, sales of used vehicles excluding minivehicles rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 751,533 units for the third straight month of rise.

Sales of passenger cars with engines larger than 2,000cc increased 14.3 percent, while subcompact cars with engines of 661cc to 2,000cc slipped 1.6 percent.

In fiscal 1999, sales of passenger cars rose 7 percent to a record high of 1,608,608 units, partly boosted by the popularity of the Toyota Crown, the association said.

Sales of subcompact cars, however, declined for the third consecutive year, dropping 4 percent to 3,121,158 units.

Demand for used subcompact cars also fell, apparently due to the ongoing resurgence in minivehicle sales, the association said.

Truck sales, on the other hand, rose only 1 percent, as customers shunned new models made more expensive by pollution-reduction equipment added to meet new emissions standards, the association said.