• Kyodo

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Sales of new imported foreign-brand vehicles in Japan dropped 3.8 percent in July from a year before, marking the first fall in 16 months, due partly to soft sales of Volkswagen cars, an industry body said Friday.

Sales of cars, trucks and buses made by foreign automakers totaled 20,993 units, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said.

Including vehicles made abroad by Japanese automakers, sales fell 7.2 percent to 24,429 units, it said.

By brand, Mercedes-Benz continued to hold top rank with 5,081 units sold, up 0.7 percent, for a market share of 20.8 percent. BMW followed with 3,586 units, up 0.4 percent, for a 14.68 percent share, the association said.

Volkswagen ranked third with 3,128 units, down 16.1 percent, for a share of 12.8 percent. Supply of the popular Golf hatchback fell short of demand due to the timing of the release of a new model, an association official said.

Among domestic brands, Toyota sold 1,357 units locally, down 2.3 percent, while Nissan’s sales plunged 37.2 percent to 1,145 units. Nissan’s poor performance is believed to have stemmed from production adjustments, the official said.

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