TOKYO Jan 6 Annual automobile sales in Japan
rose 0.1 percent in 2013 to 5.38 million vehicles, industry data
showed on Monday, as strong sales from September countered
earlier declines after green car subsidies ended in September
Sales in the world's third-biggest auto market is likely to
continue growing year-on-year in the first three months of 2014
but outlook is murky following April when the sales tax will be
raised, officials from Japan Automobile Dealers Association and
Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association said.
Japan is set to raise its sales tax in April to 8 percent
from 5 percent.
In 2013, mini-vehicles with 660cc displacement posted record
annual sales of 2.1 million vehicles, up 6.7 percent from a year
earlier, helped by new models with better fuel efficiency and
safety features, an official from Japan Light Motor Vehicle and
Motorcycle Association said.
In December, industry-wide auto sales rose 25 percent to
423,210 vehicles, data from the two associations showed.
Excluding 660cc mini-vehicles, sales at top-ranked Toyota
Motor Corp, including the Lexus brand, rose 11.9
percent, while Honda Motor Co soared 105.3 percent and
Nissan Motor Co increased 1.0 percent.
In the United States, the world's second biggest auto
market, sales in 2013 finished at 15.6 million vehicles, up 7.6
percent from 2012, its best year since the boom times before
2008. Industry-wide sales data for 2013 in China, the world's
biggest auto market, has yet to be announced.
(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)