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Sales of new motor vehicles in Japan, excluding minivehicles, fell 2.3 percent in 2002 from the previous year to 3,966,095 units for the second straight yearly decline, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Monday.

The figure consists of 3,134,197 cars, up 3.9 percent, 815,539 trucks, down 20.6 percent, and 16,359 buses, up 2.7 percent.

Sales of larger cars, with engines larger than 2,000cc, totaled 674,094, down 9.1 percent from the previous year, the association said. But sales of smaller cars grew 8.1 percent to 2,460,103.

By maker, Toyota Motor Corp. remained the top seller, with a total of 1,675,213 vehicles, down 2.1 percent from 2001. Nissan Motor Co. came second with 736,748 units, up 0.7 percent, and Honda Motor Co. third with 604,171 units, up 7.9 percent.

It said new vehicle sales in December alone came to 301,144 units, up 1.4 percent from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of rise.

The monthly figure consists of 245,112 cars, up 5.1 percent from December 2001, 54,951 trucks, down 12.2 percent, and 1,081 buses, up 3.6 percent.

December sales of larger cars, with engines bigger than 2,000cc, came to 56,903 units, down 0.6 percent, and 188,209 smaller cars, up 6.9 percent.

Toyota remained the top seller of new vehicles with 115,224 vehicles, down 5.6 percent from a year earlier.

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