TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's biggest carmaker, and Nissan Motor Co. led the ninth straight increase in the nation's monthly auto sales as government rebates and tax cuts boosted demand.
Sales of cars, trucks and buses, excluding minicars, rose 34 percent in April from a year earlier to 222,095 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said in a statement today. Toyota sold 113,644 units, excluding Lexus-brand cars, up 50 percent.
Japan's auto sales began recovering from a year-long slide in August as government rebates and tax cuts for fuel-efficient vehicles helped rekindle demand. The incentives helped raise sales by about 600,000 vehicles last year and may increase them by about 900,000 this year, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said in December.
April sales jumped 31 percent at Nissan, the nation's third-biggest carmaker, while No. 2 Honda Motor Co. sold 13 percent more vehicles.
Under a government program started in June, consumers in Japan can apply for a rebate of as much as 250,000 yen ($2,665) if they scrap an old car to buy a new one. The government has extended the program, which was initially set to expire at the end of March, for six months until September.
Electric, hybrid, natural-gas, and some diesel vehicles also qualify for an exemption from the country's weight and purchase taxes.
In the U.S., Toyota's sales rose 24 percent in April. Honda's deliveries gained 13 percent and Nissan's surged 35 percent.
Toyota said May 3 it will continue offering no-interest loans and discounted leases on most of its namesake brand models in the U.S., which are helping demand recover after the automaker recalled about 8 million vehicles worldwide for defects linked to unintended acceleration.