Overall Japanese new automobile sales rose 18.4 percent in February, combined data of the Japanese deal association JADA and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association show. The increase was not as strong as in January, when overall sales rose 29.4 percent. Japan will increase its sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent in April, causing a boomlet in high ticket items such as cars, houses, and jewelry, expected to be followed by a crashlet come April.
With that said, it comes as no surprise that imported cars (+36.4%), along with heavy trucks by Hino, Fuso, and UD had the highest growth rates. It does come as a surprise that the relatively lower cost mini vehicles, the 660 cc Japanese oddity, continue to be growing faster than conventional autos. Kei cars were up 23.8 percent in February, while sales of regular vehicles rose 14 percent. In February, the 660cc oddity held 40.5 percent of the Japanese market.