Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Japanese domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses increased 14.5 percent in March from the previous year, rising for the seventh consecutive month as consumers rushed in to buy before the scheduled sales tax hike on April 1.
In March, total sales were 481,039 units, compared with 420,069 in the same month a year ago, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association report released Tuesday.
Toyota Motor Corp. reported 209,092 Toyota brand vehicles were sold in March, higher by 10.5 percent from the previous year, with sales of its upscale Lexus vehicles rising 29 percent to 6,470. Sales of Nissan Motor Co. dropped 0.1 percent to 67,718 vehicles, while Honda Motor Co. registered a 42.1 percent gain in sales to 60,930 units.
Including the latest monthly data, domestic sales of new cars, trucks and buses expanded 5.9 percent to 3.43 million vehicles in the fiscal year ended March, extending the on-year increase to three consecutive business years.
Auto sales, calculated by registrations of vehicles with the government, are closely watched by economists as they are the first consumer spending data released every month. The figures exclude sales of trucks and mini cars.