TOKYO - Led by the first drop in the minivehicle segment in 14 months, Japan's new-vehicle sales slipped 1.2 percent in November from a year earlier, to 490,405.
In contrast, sales of standard-size light vehicles rose for the first time in 32 months.
November's slight decline in the overall market brings sales for the first 11 months to 5,426,450, essentially unchanged from a year earlier.
Sales of minis, those cars and trucks with 660cc or smaller engines, fell 3.8 percent in November to 163,290. Even so, the 11-month total of 1,733,116 left sales in the segment poised to surpass the previous full-year record of 1.8 million set in 1990.
Meanwhile, sales of all other vehicles rose 0.2 percent to 327,115.
Import sales slipped 5.2 percent to 21,086, led by a 53.7 percent tumble in so-called reimports, sales of Japanese cars built abroad and sold in Japan, to 1,401.
Sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, excluding imports, rose 5.8 percent to 5,874, for only the second rise this year.
By maker, Toyota Motor Corp. sales rose 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 150,754. Including sales of its Daihatsu Motor Co. subsidiary, Toyota's sales rose 4.4 percent to 194,095.
Nissan Motor Co. sales continued to slump, falling 8.8 percent to 57,716.
Mazda Motor Corp. sales rose 18.5 percent to 25,418. But Honda Motor Co.'s sales dropped 9.1 percent to 59,799, led by a 6,000-unit drop in minis, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s sales fell 13.3 percent to 45,283.
Among imports, Volkswagen Group's sales rose 14.3 percent to 4,578, and BMW Group's sales rose 7.2 percent to 4,271. But DaimlerChrysler sales slipped 4.5 percent to 4,035, and sales of GM brands, including Opel and Saab, fell 20.8 percent to 2,290.