TOKYO - Japan's vehicle sales rose 2.2 percent in September to 563,957, due to robust sales of minivehicles and good sales of imports.
As has been true all year, minivehicles - cars and trucks with engines smaller than 660cc - paced the market. Sales of minis totaled 173,924, up 40.3 percent from last year.
Imports, meanwhile, rose 1.6 per-cent, to 27,575.
On the other hand, sales of domestic autos other than mini cars slid 12.0 percent, to 249,291. Domestic light-truck sales other than minitrucks dropped 1.2 percent, to 101,579.
Domestic medium- and heavy-duty truck sales declined 23.2 percent, to 10,289, and buses held steady at 1,299, up four.
Last year was the worst year for truck sales in Japan in more than 20 years, and 1999 is shaping up to be down yet again. Through the first nine months of this year, sales of Japan-built vehicles were off 15.2 percent at Isuzu Motors Ltd. and 14.5 percent at Nissan Diesel Motor Co.
In contrast, Hino Motors Ltd.'s sales were up 0.6 percent, thanks to production orders from Toyota Motor Co.
But Toyota's own sales were down 4.0 percent.
Toyota's total sales this year were up 1.5 percent because of Daihatsu Motor Co., its minivehicle subsidiary.
Even so, Toyota's share of the Japanese market through September was 36.9 percent, below its target of 40 percent.
Figures for this story were provided by the Japan Mini Vehicles Association, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Automobile Importers Association.