Sales of imported foreign vehicles fell 0.8% in January

JIJI

Sales of imported foreign-brand vehicles in Japan in January fell 0.8 percent from a year before to 17,045 units, down for the fifth straight month, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Thursday.

The overall momentum created by launching new models of mass-market vehicles has been fading, although they still sell well along with diesels, a JAIA official said.

Still, the share of imported foreign-brand vehicles in the total for new autos sold in Japan in January, excluding minivehicles, stood at 7.2 percent, the second-highest on record for the month.

Mercedes-Benz was the top-selling foreign brand for the 11th straight month, although sales fell 9.6 percent to 4,120 units. Volkswagen came second, with 2,993 units, down 20.4 percent, followed by BMW with 2,590 units, up 18.5 percent.

Ford, which has decided to withdraw from Japan within the year, saw sales plunge 49.8 percent to 148 units.