• Kyodo


Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., the biggest two Japanese automakers in the United States, posted drops in January sales, while their two smaller rivals — Nissan Motor Co. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. — registered solid double-digit gains, according to figures from Autodata Corp.

Overall sales in the United States snapped a steady three-month rising streak through December, dragged down by an extreme cold wave that discouraged customers from visiting dealer outlets in major East Coast markets, including New York.

A Toyota official said the automaker is expecting an uptick in February sales, while a financial industry source said concern about the global economic outlook and weak stock prices could adversely affect consumer spending.

Among Japanese automakers, Toyota sold 146,365 vehicles, down 7.2 percent, making it the third-biggest player in the U.S. market. Its key Camry cars dragged down sales. The Toyota official downplayed the impact of the temporary suspension of sales of some models with seats found to pose a fire risk.

Honda lost 2.1 percent in sales to 91,631 units, making it the fifth-largest manufacturer.

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