Domestic auto sales up 10%

Kyodo News

New vehicle sales in Japan grew 10.0 percent, to 3,182,073 units, in fiscal 2009, which ended Wednesday, marking the first upturn in seven years, an industry body said Thursday.

The recovery in auto sales came on the back of government tax breaks and subsidies for the purchase of fuel-efficient cars, in a rebound from a sharp decline during the previous business year caused by the global financial crisis.

In March alone, new vehicle sales rose 37.2 percent from a year before, to 443,298 units, for the eighth straight monthly uptick, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

Sales of cars, excluding minivehicles, soared 40.7 percent to 402,826 units.

Toyota Motor Corp. saw its March sales jump 50.7 percent, to 204,514 units.