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Japan new car sales rise 6.8% in Jan. despite coronavirus pandemic

This Feb. 8, 2020 file photo shows a car dealer in Saitama, near Tokyo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Sales of new cars in Japan rose 6.8 percent to 384,442 units in January from a year earlier for the fourth straight month of increase, industry body data showed Monday.

    The Japan Automobile Dealers Association data suggest the impact on car sales of the second state of emergency over the novel coronavirus, which Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared in Tokyo and 10 prefectures, was limited.

    Sales excluding those of minicars rose 6.8 percent to 236,592 vehicles, the data said.

    By brand, Toyota Motor Corp. saw sales of 119,504 units, up 13.8 percent, while those of Nissan Motor Co. were up 3.9 percent to 25,438 units.

    The data came amid signs of recovering production and exports, despite fears of economic fallout from a growing number of domestic coronavirus infections and the second state of emergency in Tokyo and other urban areas in the reporting month.

    Sales of minivehicles, which have engines no larger than 660 cc, increased 6.6 percent to 147,850 units for the fourth straight month of growth, the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association said.

    An association official said, "We will keep a close eye on when the state of emergency is lifted and how it will affect the market."

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