TOKYO – Japan’s import-vehicle market grew to a record 346,113 units in 2013, up 9.5% from 2012, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Assn.

Volkswagen was again the best-selling brand at 67,282 units, a new high, followed by Mercedes-Benz (53,731), BMW (46,037), Nissan (35,683) and Audi (28,676).

Foreign brands accounted for 81% of 2013 sales, while cars held steady at 96% of import-vehicle sales.

American auto makers sold 13,037 units, with Jeep and Ford again the brand leaders accounting for two out of three of the U.S. imports sold.

By model, the 2013 best-seller was the Volkswagen's Golf (23,858), followed by the BMW 3-Series (18,739), BMW Mini (16,982), Mercedes-Benz A-Class (12,440), and Volkswagen Up! (12,322).

Among Japanese brands, Nissan led in imports (35,683) and was ranked fourth overall, followed by Toyota (eighth), Mitsubishi (ninth) and Suzuki (23rd).

Toyota was the leading truck brand with sales totaling 13,145 units, down 1% from the previous year.

Meanwhile, Japanese imports fell 14% to 52,440 units, from the 2012 peak of 61,048 units.

Kitaro Ueno, the JAIA’s new chairman and president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Japan, warns import-vehicle demand could fall beginning in April due to the government’s plan to raise the nation’s consumption tax from 5% to 8%.