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Sales of new minicars in 1999 jumped 21.2 percent from the previous year to 1.88 million units, the highest annual figure since the Japan Mini Vehicles Association started taking statistics in 1967, the association said Tuesday.

The sales of 1.88 million units in 1999 was also the first increase in four years, according to the association. The boom was triggered by the introduction of lower tax rates for minicars in fall 1998. For 1999, passenger car sales hit 1.24 million units — also a record — up 30.5 percent from 1998, while sales of commercial vehicles increased 6.7 percent to 644,408 units, the association said.

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