Japan's domestic auto sales fell to a 35-year low last
year as the nation faced high gasoline prices, limited income growth
and shrinking demand, an industry group said Monday.
Sales of new cars, trucks and buses declined 7.6 percent to 3.434
million vehicles in 2007, the Japan Automobile Dealers' Association
said in a statement. The figures do not include sales of minicars
The result, which marked the fourth straight annual decline, was
the lowest since 1972, when sales totalled 3.406 million vehicles.
The data showed that the world's third-biggest auto market is
slow to respond to efforts by some Japanese car makers to spark
local demand by boosting their offerings of new models. Japan's
largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., has introduced nine models
since last May but estimates a 6-percent drop in its domestic sales
The nation's new vehicles sales in December alone fell 7.1
percent from a year ago to 236,142 vehicles, down for the first time
in three months, the association said. And the outlook for the
domestic market remains gloomy.
Another industry group, Japan Automobile Manufacturers
Association, has put its domestic sales forecast for this year at
3.427 million vehicles _ excluding minivehicles _ down 0.2 percent
from sales for 2007.