TOKYO — Last year left most auto importers in Japan nursing wounds and this year may be just as bad — or worse. Imported car sales were down 22.2% to 265,848 units in 1998, far below the peak of 427,525 hit two years earlier. This was the worst showing since 1993, with Ford Motor Co., Chrysler of DaimlerChrysler AG and the Rover Group the hardest hit marques, registering decreases of 40% or more. The import decline, 2.5 times the overall drop in car sales, is blamed on the weak Japanese ...

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