• Kyodo

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New vehicle sales in March, including minivehicles, rose 17.4 percent from a year earlier to 783,389 units, marking the seventh straight monthly rise, aided by a last-minute buying spree before the consumption tax hike, industry bodies said Tuesday.

Excluding minivehicles, sales grew 14.5 percent from a year earlier to 481,039 units, also up for the seventh straight month, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

Passenger car sales grew 12.8 percent to 417,136 units and truck sales gained 27.2 percent to 61,437 units. Bus sales were up 18.3 percent at 2,466 units.

As for minivehicles with engine displacement of up to 660cc, sales rose 22.4 percent to 302,350 units, up for the ninth consecutive month and hitting a single-month record, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association said.

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