New car sales in Japan slumped 11.5 percent in 2020 from a year earlier amid the coronavirus pandemic, marking the largest fall in nine years, data from industry bodies showed Tuesday.
Automakers sold 4,598,615 cars last year, including minivehicles with engines of up to 660 cc, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.
The 11.5 percent decline was the biggest since 2011, when auto sales tumbled 15.1 percent to about 4,210,000 vehicles, in the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan and disrupted supply chains.
The auto industry has seen a pickup in sales following a slump in the spring of 2020, when Japan was placed under a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus.
Excluding minivehicles, car sales fell 12.3 percent to 2,880,527 units. A total of 1,718,088 minicars were sold, down 10.1 percent, the data showed.
Car demand usually grows toward April, the start of a new business and school year in the country. Uncertainty remains over the outlook for 2021 as the government, struggling to cope with resurgent coronavirus infections, is moving toward declaring another state of emergency.
Toyota Motor Corp. saw a 5.8 percent drop in domestic sales in 2020 from a year earlier, while its competitors suffered double-digit declines.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. registered a 41.3 percent slump and Nissan Motor Co., in the midst of restructuring since the departure of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, saw a 27.5 percent fall.
The other automakers include Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp., along with minicar-making Suzuki Motor Corp. and Daihatsu Motor Co., a Toyota subsidiary.