• Kyodo

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Sales here of new imported vehicles, including those built abroad by Japanese automakers, dropped 24.4 percent in April from a year earlier to 15,578 units, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Thursday.

Sales of foreign-brand cars fell 20.6 percent to 12,915 units and those of Japanese-brand vehicles plunged 38.4 percent to 2,663 units, according to the association.

By brand, Volkswagen retained the top spot with 2,853 units sold, a 21.3 percent decline, for a market share of 18.31 percent. Mercedes-Benz ranked second with 2,352 units, down 15.8 percent, for a 15.10 percent share, followed by BMW with 1,614 units, down 35.7 percent, for a share of 10.36 percent.

Among imported Japanese brands, Nissan’s sales sank 38.2 percent to 1,396 units, while Toyota’s sales dropped 18.3 percent to 952 units.

The consumption tax rose to 8 percent from 5 percent on April 1.

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