TOKYO, Dec. 3 (Kyodo) — Japan's new auto sales edged down 0.4 percent in November from a year earlier to 393,942 units, due partly to the end of the government subsidy program for the purchase of environmentally friendly cars, industry bodies said Monday.
The decline was modest compared to a 5.7 percent drop the previous month, but the outlook remains murky amid sluggish economic conditions, an official at the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.
Overall sales of passenger cars dropped 3.3 percent to 213,762 units. Sales of small passenger cars gained 8.4 percent to 113,056 units, helped by robust sales of models such as Nissan Motor Co.'s Note and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s Mirage. But sales of larger passenger cars declined 13.7 percent to 100,706, the association said.
Meanwhile, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association said sales of minivehicles, with engines no larger than 660 cc, gained 4.6 percent to 149,968 vehicles, the 14th consecutive monthly increase.
The rise was due mainly to increasing sales of Honda Motor Co.'s N series minivehicles including the N-ONE and N-BOX, with the automaker's sales jumping around 3.8-fold, according to an association official.
By brand, Nissan's overall vehicle sales fell 12.2 percent while Honda's plunged 40.4 percent. Toyota Motor Corp.'s sales rose 1.4 percent, while sales of Subaru brand cars, made by Fuji Heavy industries Ltd., jumped around 2.5-fold.