Sales of imported autos drop further

Sales of imported vehicles in May fell 27 percent from a year ago to 22,919 units, due in part to April’s consumption tax increase to 5 percent from 3 percent, the Japan Automobile Importers’ Association said June 5.

The association also attributed the results to a sharp decline in the number of vehicles built at overseas plants of Japanese automakers and imported here. Sales of imported passenger cars declined 25.5 percent to 21,268 units, with those having engines over 2,000cc falling 32.9 percent to 13,951 units.

Sales of smaller cars totaled 7,317 units, down 6 percent from a year earlier. Sales of imported trucks also fell 41.2 percent to 1,650 units. Sales of vehicles produced by Japanese automakers in their overseas factories and imported to Japan tumbled 58.3 percent to 2,517 units, marking a year-on-year decline for 14 consecutive months.

Association officials said imported car sales are likely to increase slightly in June and recover completely by fall as automakers plan to introduce new models in the first half of the current business year.