Auto sales in Japan fall 1.7% in October after Nissan inspection scandal

Kyodo

Auto sales in the country last month fell 1.7 percent from a year earlier, to 372,470 units, dragged down by Nissan Motor Co.’s inspection scandal, industry data showed Wednesday.

The country’s second-largest carmaker by volume suffered a 43.0 percent drop in sales of all types of cars, to 22,049 vehicles, following the revelation in late September that its vehicles had been inspected by uncertified workers.

According to the data released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, vehicle sales in the reporting month, excluding minivehicles with engines no larger than 660 cc, dropped 4.7 percent to 231,563 units.

Among other automakers, Toyota Motor Corp.’s sales rose 1.1 percent, while Honda Motor Co. reported a 14.0 percent decline.

Nissan halted car shipments and production at all six of its assembly plants in Japan in late October after finding that faulty quality inspections had continued at most locations despite the misconduct surfacing the previous month.

The company has announced a massive recall in the wake of the improper inspections.

Nissan said Tuesday it plans to resume the production and shipment of new vehicles for the domestic market once it has finished preparing measures by the end of the working week to ensure uncertified workers will not inspect its cars again.

To prevent further missteps, Nissan said it will create an enclosed area for the final inspection process, with entry restricted to certified inspectors only.

Sales of minivehicles in October, meanwhile, increased 3.7 percent from a year before to 140,907 units, the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association said.

By brand, Nissan saw a 20.4 percent fall in minicar sales as it, too, appeared to suffer from the scandal’s fallout, despite inspections of minivehicles not being questioned.

Daihatsu Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp., the country’s two largest minivehicle sellers, reported increases of 4.9 percent and 1.1 percent in October, respectively. Honda’s minicar sales jumped 24.7 percent.