Japan's vehicle sales dip 2% in November

November's top 10
1. Honda Fit 19,772
2. Toyota Corolla 19,127
3. Suzuki Wagon R* 17,641
4. Mitsubishi eK Wagon* 15,997
5. Honda Life* 14,949
6. Daihatsu Move* 11,896
7. Toyota Estima 10,285
8. Toyota Vitz 9,183
9. Honda Stream 7,217
10. Daihatsu Mira* 6,892
*Minivehicle
Source: Automotive News

TOKYO - Japan's new-vehicle sales fell 2 percent in November to 474,550 despite a 15.5 percent gain in sales of 660cc minivehicles.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. all reported gains of more than 20 percent in minivehicle sales.

Excluding minivehicles, sales fell 9.3 percent in November to 311,116, a level not seen in two decades. The last time sales of nonminicars and trucks were that low was in November 1974, when 304,000 were sold.

The weakness in nonminivehicles was broad-based. Including imports, sales of light trucks fell 20.6 percent, sales of cars with engines greater than 2.0 liters fell 13.9 percent and sales of small cars slipped 2.4 percent to 179,018.

Import sales slipped 2 percent to 21,347.

Among individual makers, Honda stood out with a 20.1 percent sales gain while Mitsubishi, riding the crest of hot demand for its new eK Wagon minivehicle, was up 10.8 percent. In contrast, market leader Toyota Motor Corp., which does not offer a Toyota-badged mini, was off 18 percent.

Among importers, Volkswagen remained the best-selling brand, despite a 4.8 percent dip in sales.

You can reach James B. Treece at jtreece@crain.com

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