TOKYO – Japan’s new vehicle sales in April dropped 28.6 percent from a year earlier to 270,393 units, the seventh straight monthly decline, as the coronavirus outbreak shrank demand, data from industry bodies showed Friday.
Excluding minivehicles, car sales in the reporting month fell 25.5 percent from a year earlier to 172,138 units, marking the third lowest level for April since comparable data became available in 1968, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.
It was the worst level after 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis and 2011 when Japan’s northeastern region was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Sales of minivehicles with engine displacement of up to 660 cc plunged 33.5 percent to 98,255 units, also down for the seventh consecutive month, according to the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.
The global coronavirus pandemic continued to stifle sales, forcing major automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., to cut production.
While compared with some other countries the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan is not that high, the government declared a monthlong state of emergency until next Wednesday to prevent the further spread of the virus, requesting people to stay at home as much as possible.
It is now considering extending the nationwide emergency until the end of May.
Japan’s vehicle sales, including trucks, buses and minivehicles, have also been weighed on by the impact of the consumption tax hike from 8 percent to 10 percent in October last year.