New car sales in Japan increased 24.1 percent in September from a year earlier, the first year-on-year rise in 15 months, industry body data showed Monday, as production picked up after a parts shortage caused by Shanghai's COVID-19 lockdown eased.
The level of sales, however, remained at about 70 percent of that in 2019, suggesting that it could take some more time to return to the pre-pandemic level, with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. planning output cuts in October.
New car sales for the month, excluding minivehicles, rose 17.8 percent to 242,042 units, the first year-on-year increase in 13 months, according to data released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.
All major nine brands logged increases in the reporting month from a year earlier, as sales at Toyota climbed 26.3 percent to 113,328 units while Mazda Motor Corp. posted a 60.5 percent increase at 13,202 units, the data showed.
New minivehicle sales in the country rose 35.6 percent to 153,121 cars, rising for the first time in two months, according to data compiled by the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association.
Industry giants Daihatsu Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. saw their sales rise by 54.0 percent and 41.7 percent, respectively, the data showed.
"The negative effects from a chip shortage and supply bottleneck have been continuing, so it's hard to see when these factors stop affecting new car sales," an official at the association said.
For the six months ended September, the country's new car sales, including minivehicles, fell 6.2 percent from the same period a year ago to 1.92 million units.