Economic hard times are challenging import cars in Japan, as their sales slowly fade away. Deliveries of so-called “pure” imports from foreign makers, excluding those brought by the Japanese transplants, peaked at 299,409 in 1996, dropped to 192,317 last year and tumbled 26.8% in first-half 2009, compared with like-2008. A variety of circumstances are to blame, led by the weak economy's impact on the luxury market and Japan's homologation policies. “The basic problem is the Japanese ...

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