Sales of imported motor vehicles in Japan rose 0.1 percent in August from a year earlier to 18,918 units, the first rise in three months, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Thursday.

Cumulative sales from January to August came to 178,983 units, down 1.6 percent from the same period the previous year, the association said. The figures include sales of vehicles that Japanese automakers manufactured overseas for the domestic market.

In August, sales of vehicles produced by foreign automakers dropped 1.5 percent to 17,598 units, but sales of vehicles produced by Japanese automakers at overseas factories rose 28.3 percent to 1,320 units, it said.

German vehicles took the top three positions in terms of sales in Japan’s imported vehicle market in August.

Mercedes-Benz replaced Volkswagen as the top seller, with a 21.41 percent market share and sales of 4,050 vehicles, up 23.7 percent.

Volkswagen came second with an 18.47 percent market share and sales of 3,494 vehicles, down 9.9 percent, followed by BMW with a market share of 11.52 percent and sales of 2,179 vehicles, down 11.4 percent.

In fourth place was Swedish automaker Volvo, with a 5.39 percent market share and sales of 1,019 units, down 22 percent, followed by France’s Peugeot with a 5.09 percent market share and sales of 962 vehicles, up 28.8 percent.

Fit keeps momentum

Honda Motor Co.’s Fit compact remained the best-selling car in Japan for the fifth consecutive month in August, with sales of 17,818 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Thursday.

Mazda Motor Corp.’s Demio compact entered the top 10 for the first time in 15 months, jumping from 15th place in July to fifth place with 6,296 units sold, after a revised version was launched in early August.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Corolla retained second place with sales of 13,264 units in August, followed by Toyota’s Ist compact with sales of 13,043 units, and Nissan Motor Co.’s March compact with 11,326 units sold.

Toyota’s Noah minivan came in sixth with sales of 6,012 units, followed by Honda’s StepWGN minivan with sales of 5,659 units, and Toyota’s Alphard minivan with sales of 5,557 units.

In ninth place was Toyota’s Estima minivan with sales of 5,134 units, followed by Honda’s Stream minivan with sales of 4,748 units.

Toyota’s Vitz compact fell to 11th place, the first time it ranked outside the top 10 since its launch in January 1999.

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