TOKYO - Japan's vehicle sales in July continued the trend for this year: Minivehicle sales were strong, and sales in all other categories slid.
Total vehicle sales fell 3.1 percent, to 538,951, compared with July 1998. Sales of minivehicles, those with engines under 660cc, rose for the 10th straight month, climbing 30.4 percent to 166,616.
On the other hand, sales of all other vehicles dropped 13.1 percent in July to 372,335. Excluding minicars and imports, car sales retreated 16.7 percent to 246,430.
Sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, sliding for more than a year, were relatively stable. Their sales declined 2.5 percent, to 5,853.
Import sales fell 5.9 percent to 23,656. So-called reimports of Japanese cars made abroad jumped 47.2 percent to 2,369. Of those, Honda's reimports totaled 1,716, up from a mere 27 a year earlier. So-called pure imports dropped 9.6 percent to 21,287.
Import brands Mercedes and Volkswagen posted sales rises. But sales fell for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler-brand products, BMW, Volvo, Rover and Toyota.
Figures for this story were provided by the Japan Mini Vehicles Association, the Japan Automo-bile Dealers Association and the Japan Automobile Importers Association.