Passenger cars and trucks imported into Japan in January rose 4.1 percent from a year before to 24,178 units, posting a record high for the month, the Japan Automobile Importers’ Association reported Feb. 6.

Foreign automakers’ shipments increased 19.3 percent helped by the continuing popularity of their small passenger cars, while Japanese automakers, discouraged by the weakening yen, reduced imports of their products from their overseas plants by 35.3 percent, the association said. Imports of passenger cars rose 0.1 percent to 22,106 units. Of these, imports of passenger cars with engine displacement of more than 2,000cc dropped 10.5 percent, while those of smaller cars rose 27.2 percent, reflecting brisk sales of compact cars by such makers as Volkswagen and Opel.

Imports of trucks rose 79.4 percent to 2,072 units. Imports of Japanese cars produced abroad meanwhile dropped to 4,200 units. Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., two major Japanese automakers that import cars, reduced shipments from the United States compared with a year before by 42.4 percent and 79.7 percent respectively.

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