Japan’s October Car Sales Tumble to Lowest in 42 Years

Plunging demand for Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. cars led Japan’s October auto sales to the lowest level for the month in 42 years after a government subsidy program ended.

Registrations for October were the weakest since 1968 as sales of cars, trucks and buses, excluding minicars, fell 27 percent from a year earlier to 193,258 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said in a statement today. Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, sold 101,518 units, excluding Lexus-brand cars, a decline of 24 percent.

Industrywide car sales in Japan may fall 23 percent in the six months through March 31 after a government subsidy for fuel-efficient cars ended Sept. 8, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

“The biggest declines are coming from automakers that offered many models that were eligible for the government subsidies,” said Michiro Saito, head of general affairs and statistics at the association. Automakers also worry that consumer fears over the nation’s economy may slow a recovery in sales, he said.

Sales of Honda fell 30 percent to 30,422 vehicles last month, while Nissan Motor Co. dropped 31 percent and Mazda Motor Corp. plunged 52 percent, the association said.

Shares in Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, fell 1.9 percent to 2,805 yen in Tokyo trading as of 2:28 p.m., while Honda dropped 5 percent.

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