Japanese monthly vehicle sales rose for the first time in eight months in April, which included one more business day than last year, and as consumer sentiment benefited from a rally in Japanese stock prices.
Sales increased 1.5 percent to 365,165 units last month, which had 21 business days, compared with 20 days in April 2012, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association. Toyota Motor Corp. deliveries rose 5.4 percent.
Vehicle sales had slumped in Japan since September, when government subsidies for fuel-efficient cars expired. The increase in April deliveries is prompting speculation that a 33 percent surge in Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average is boosting consumer confidence, said Satoru Takada, a Tokyo-based auto analyst at Toward the Infinite World Inc.
“This slight gain may be seen as an improvement in consumer outlook,” Takada said by phone today. “With the stock market performing very strongly, there may be a mood to replace older cars with new ones.”
Vehicle sales in Japan will probably shrink 12 percent this year, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association estimates.
Nissan Motor Co.’s April sales fell 4.8 percent in Japan to 37,541 units, while Honda Motor Co.’s slumped 12.6 percent to 48,500 units.