TOKYO – Demand for imported cars and trucks in Japan continued to grow at double-digit rates during the first six months of 2013, despite a sharp weakening of the yen against the euro, dollar and other major currencies.
Sales are on track to reach their highest yearly total since the mid-1990s.
In its regular monthly sales report issued last week, the Japan Automobile Importers Assn. reports the market expanded 13% between January and June to 170,728 units, up from 150,668 in 2012.
Foreign brands, led by, Mercedes-Benz and , accounted for nearly 80% of the total, while Japanese brands, mainly due to ’s Thai-built March, rose to a half-year record of 37,481 units.
, which began importing the model in 2010, ranked fourth among imports at 20,194.
Among the foreign brands, VW ranked No.1 on sales of 32,842 units, followed by Mercedes-Benz andwith 24,339 and 20,887, respectively.
Total foreign-brand sales rose to 133,247 units. The importers association projects that number eventually will grow to 240,000.
As in the past, cars accounted for 95% of sales.
The top U.S. brands were Jeep and, ranked 13th and 14th overall.
Among Japanese brands, Nissan was followed byand , ranked sixth and eighth overall.Toyota was the leading truck brand with sales totaling 6,675 units, up 10% year-on-year.