Sales of imported autos rise 4.2% on year to mark record for July, Japan industry group says

JIJI

Imported foreign-brand vehicle sales in July grew 4.2 percent from a year earlier to 21,869 units, for the first increase in two months, an industry group said Monday.

Sales of imported foreign-brand vehicles accounted for 7.8 percent of all new automobile sales in Japan, excluding minivehicles with an engine displacement of up to 660 cc, marking a record high for July.

The growth reflected brisk sales of new models and sport-utility vehicles, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association.

Mercedes-Benz, the best-selling imported foreign brand in July, saw its sales drop 8.0 percent to 4,672 units, down for the second straight month.

BMW came second as its sales grew 4.6 percent to 3,752 units thanks to the popularity of its X2 subcompact SUV.

Volkswagen ranked third, with sales having jumped 17.7 percent to 3,682 units, on the back of brisk demand for its Polo subcompact.

Nine brands, including BMW and Jeep, scored record highs for July.

Total sales of U.S. brand vehicles surged 21.9 percent to 1,059 units.