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Domestic sales of new imported motor vehicles totaled 22,636 units in July, down 1.9 percent from a year earlier, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Wednesday.

The July total consisted of 19,948 vehicles produced by non-Japanese companies, down 10.1 percent, along with 2,688 vehicles produced by Japanese automakers overseas, up sharply from 893, the association said.

Volkswagen remained the top-selling brand, claiming a 21.7 percent market share after selling 4,913 vehicles in July.

This was down 16.4 percent from a year earlier, the association said.

Mercedes-Benz came second, logging a 13.23 percent share with sales of 2,995 vehicles, down 19.1 percent. BMW ranked third, claiming a share of 11.86 percent, with its sales rising 2.2 percent to 2,684 vehicles.

Honda came in fourth, posting an 8.93 percent share, with imports of Honda cars assembled at overseas factories jumping from 800 to 2,022 vehicles.

Peugeot took fifth place with a 4.87 percent share.

Europe exports start

LAEM CHABANG, Thailand (Kyodo) Isuzu Motors Ltd. and General Motors Corp. on Wednesday began exporting a jointly developed pickup truck to Europe.

The D-Max is initially being shipped to Britain, Italy and Greece. It will be exported to other world markets in the future, Isuzu and GM said.

Isuzu and GM held a ceremony to mark the start of exports in this Bangkok suburb.