• Kyodo

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Sales of new imported foreign-brand cars, trucks and buses in Japan increased 1.7 percent in the first half of fiscal 2017 from a year earlier to 147,261 units, helped by the introduction of new models, industry data showed Thursday.

Sales for the April-September period grew for the third straight year, adding to signs of a recent robust trend also backed by a recovery in the Japanese economy, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said.

New imported vehicles including those built abroad by Japanese automakers fell 0.1 percent to 167,661 units, as Japanese brands declined 11.7 percent to 20,400 units due to production adjustments.

By brand, Mercedes-Benz ranked top with 33,308 units sold, up 1.7 percent, for a market share of 19.87 percent. BMW was second with 25,722 units, up 3.8 percent, for a 15.34 percent share, followed by Volkswagen with 23,122 units, down 0.2 percent, for a 13.79 percent share.

Among imported Japanese-brand vehicles, Toyota sales increased 1.7 percent to 7,862 units while those of Nissan fell 20.9 percent to 6,671 units.

In September alone, sales of new imported vehicles grew 2.1 percent from a year earlier to 40,019 units. Sales of foreign-brand vehicles rose 1.4 percent to 35,055 units, while those of Japanese brands expanded 7.8 percent to 4,964 units.

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