Sales of used vehicles skid to nine-year low

Sales of used vehicles in the first half of fiscal 2002 dropped to their lowest level in nine years, down 2.4 percent to 2.59 million units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Thursday.

The decline for the second straight year “reflects the drop in sales of new vehicles amid the economic slump,” an official at the association said.

The last time sales of used vehicles hit the 2.5 million level was in the April 1 to Sept. 30 period of 1993.

Sales of cars in the reporting period dropped for the second consecutive year, down 2.4 percent to 2.2i million.

Sales of cars with engines larger than 2,000cc rose 2.5 percent for the 25th straight fiscal year to 901,415, while those of cars with engines of 2,000cc or less dropped 5.5 percent to 1.31 million for the 10th year of decline.

Sales of used trucks dropped 1.9 percent to 290,404, down for the second year in a row, while those of buses grew 4.5 percent to 9,026, up for the fifth straight year, the association said.

In September, sales of used motor vehicles in Japan rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier to 405,856 units, up for the first time in five months.

The rise reflects a recovery in sales of used passenger cars with engine capacities larger than 2,000cc and of trucks, the association said.

Among used vehicles, passenger cars accounted for 347,439 units, up 2.6 percent and rising for the first time in five months.

Of these, small cars with engine capacities of 2,000cc and below dropped 1.1 percent to 203,212, for the 11th straight month of decline.

However, sales of cars with larger engine capacities grew 8.3 percent — the first rise in two months — to 144,227 due to the popularity of recreational vehicles, an association official said.

“People who bought RVs and minivans several years ago have decided to buy new models,” the official said.

Sales of used trucks rose for the first time in four months, up 1.6 percent to 44,836.