Japan’s new vehicle sales in January, excluding minivehicles, rose 27.5 percent from a year earlier to 292,446, the highest figure for the month since 1997, due to increased demand ahead of the sales tax hike in April, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Monday.
Sales of minivehicles with engines no larger than 660 cc grew 32.1 percent to 203,659, a record high for the month since 1967 when comparable data became available, the Japan Mini Vehicles Association said.
The previous record for new car sales in January excluding minivehicles was set in 1997, shortly before the last sales tax increase from 3 percent to 5 percent. The rate will be raised to 8 percent in April.
“In addition to the favorable impact of Abenomics (economic policies advocated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) and introduction of new models, sales were boosted in January by a buying spree” before the sales tax hike, a JADA official said.