• Kyodo


Sales of new foreign vehicles plunged by a record 46.4 percent to 12,522 units in May as the coronavirus hindered marketing activities and kept people at home, an industry body said Thursday.

Sales posted their biggest year-on-year drop for the second straight month since the Japan Automobile Importers Association began compiling the statistics in 1988, after shrinking 36.9 percent in April.

The association said the May plunge followed brisk sales in the same month last year.

Unit sales have fallen for eight consecutive months since October 2019, when the consumption tax was hiked to 10 percent from 8 percent on Oct. 1.

“The state of emergency has been lifted but future sales remain uncertain,” an association spokesperson said of the pandemic.

By brand, Mercedes-Benz was the top seller at 2,694 units, though this spelled a tumble of 40.7 percent from last year. BMW was second at 1,706 units, diving 53.9 percent.

Volkswagen was third at 1,605 units, slumping 57.4 percent, followed by Audi in fourth at 1,072 units for a 45.7 percent fall.

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