Sales of imported vehicles in May increased 3.8 percent from a year earlier to 20,455 units, with Volkswagen spearheading the mild gain, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Wednesday.

Of the May tally, vehicles made by foreign manufacturers accounted for 19,244, up 9.1 percent. Those made at Japanese automakers’ overseas factories came to 1,211, down 41.4 percent.

Combined sales of imported vehicles in the January-May period posted a 1.8 percent rise to 112,313, it said.

Of the total in the five-month period, foreign automakers’ products accounted for 106,197, up 4.9 percent.

Volkswagen took the biggest chunk of the imported vehicle market in May with a 21.56 percent share on sales of 4,410 vehicles, up by 5.1 percent.

Mercedes-Benz came second at 19.16 percent with sales of 3,919, up 14.7 percent. , followed by BMW at 13.26 percent with sales of 2,712, up 27.1 percent.

Volvo was fourth with a 5.93 percent share and sales of 1,214 units, down 1.8 percent. Opel sold 950 vehicles in May, down 3.7 percent, with its share coming to 4.64 percent.

Toyota No. 1 again

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Corolla remained the best-selling car in May for the ninth straight month, with sales of 16,737 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Wednesday.

Among the top 10 best-selling cars, six are from the nation’s biggest automaker, the association said. While Toyota and Honda Motor Co. cars cornered the top 10 in April, Mazda Motor Corp.’s compact car, the Demio, was ranked ninth in May, and Nissan Motor Co.’s minivehicle, the March, placed 10th. Demio sales stood at 5,020 units and those of March at 4,890.

Meanwhile, minivans showed favorable sales, with Honda’s Stream and Step WGN ranked third and fourth, respectively, and Toyota’s Estima fifth.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s Lancer was ranked 25th, with sales coming to 2,692 units, the association said.

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