New automobile sales in Japan in 2021 dropped 3.3% from the previous year to 4,448,340 units, down for the third straight year, industry data showed Wednesday.
Sales failed to reach 5 million units for the second straight year due chiefly to persistent supply chain bottlenecks amid the coronavirus pandemic, industry sources said.
The Japan Automobile Dealers Association said sales of new vehicles larger than 660 cc minivehicles slipped 2.9% to 2,795,818 units.
Meanwhile, the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association reported that sales of minivehicles fell 3.8% to 1,652,522 units.
Although the spread of the coronavirus in the country did not affect sales much, a global shortage of semiconductors and lack of other parts from Southeast Asia amid supply chain turmoil forced automakers to suspend some of their assembly lines, association officials said.
Looking ahead, the JADA expressed concerns over not only the supply chain problem but high pump prices, which would make consumers less willing to buy cars.
In December alone, new vehicle sales fell from a year earlier for the sixth straight month to 336,442 units.
Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., in particular, were hit by minivehicle sales plunges of 60.0% and 41.3%, respectively, after they stopped production and sales of three models due to abnormal collision test data.
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