• Kyodo News


Used vehicle sales fell 2.8 percent in 2010 from a year earlier to a record low 3,933,176 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Friday.

The previous record low was 3,986,951 units posted in 1978, when the association began compiling relevant data, it said. The figure for 2010 represented the 10th consecutive year-on-year fall, it said.

The sales figure excludes minivehicles of up to 660cc.

The association attributed the fall partly to the government’s tax breaks and subsidies for purchases of new, environmentally friendly cars, which weakened the perception among consumers that used vehicles are more cost-effective.

It also blamed the decline on a drop in the number of used vehicles released to the secondhand market, as fewer people traded in their vehicles for new cars after the government ended the subsidy program in September.

“The used-vehicle market is still shrinking,” an association official said. “While it depends on the development of new car sales whether the used car market recovers, it is unlikely to rebound sharply this year.”

Overall sales of used cars fell 1.9 percent to 3,408,806 units. Sales of small cars with engines of up to 2,000cc dropped 2.1 percent to a record low of 1,816,696 units, while those of cars with larger engines declined 1.7 percent to 1,592,110 units.

Sales of trucks and other cargo vehicles slumped 8.2 percent to an all-time low 422,969 units. Bus sales tumbled 7.4 percent to 14,163 units.

For the month of December alone, used vehicle sales slid 2.2 percent from a year earlier to 311,279 units, the first decline in two months.

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