Domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses slipped 0.8 percent in August from a year earlier to 233,418 units, marking the 29th straight monthly decline, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association reported on Wednesday.

A JADA official put both a negative and a positive spin on the numbers.

“We had expected sales would bottom out in August, so it is regrettable to see sales decrease again,” a JADA official said. “But the decrease of 0.8 percent (on a year-on-year basis) is the smallest figure this year, and we expect that sales will pick up in September or October.”

Taken separately, sales of trucks surged 13.5 percent to 70,318, showing the first increase since March 1997, according to the association.

But the rise appears to be an anomaly; the official said it was triggered by a government-set August deadline for automakers to sell off trucks not complying with new exhaust restrictions.

By category, sales of passenger cars declined 6 percent on a year-on-year basis to 162,044 units, sales of passenger cars with engines larger than 2,000cc fell 2 percent to 41,242, while those of smaller cars dropped 7.2 percent to 120,802.

Sales of trucks with load capacities of more than two tons grew 5.8 percent to 6,208, and those of smaller trucks increased 14.3 percent to 64,110.

Sales of buses grew 16.6 percent to 1,056.

The accumulated sales of cars, trucks and buses between January and August was 2,677,297 units, down 9.5 percent from the same period last year, according to the association.

By manufacturer, Hino Motor Ltd., Isuzu Motor Ltd., Nissan Diesel Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. posted sales increases.

Toyota saw a 3.2 percent rise and Nissan Motor chalked up a 1.7 percent gain.

But Daihatsu Motor Co., a Toyota subsidiary, posted a 62.6 percent plunge, and Suzuki Ltd. suffered a 19.6 percent drop.

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