New car sales in Japan down 3.3% in 2021

New car sales in Japan in 2021 fell 3.3% from a year earlier to 4,448,340 units, down for the third year in a row, industry data showed Wednesday.

Sales fell short of 5 million units for the second year in a row mainly due to persistent supply chain bottlenecks amid the coronavirus pandemic, industry sources said.

The Japan Automobile Dealers Association said sales of new vehicles over 660 cc fell 2.9% to 2,795,818 units.

Meanwhile, the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association reported that mini-vehicle sales fell 3.8% to 1,652,522 units.

Although the spread of the coronavirus in the country has not affected sales much, a global shortage of semiconductors and the lack of other parts from Southeast Asia amid the turbulence in the chain of supply have forced automakers to suspend some of their assembly lines, association officials said.

Looking ahead, JADA expressed concern not only about the supply chain issue, but also high prices at the pump, which would make consumers less willing to buy cars.

In December alone, new vehicle sales fell from a year earlier for the sixth consecutive month to 336,442 units.

Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., in particular, were hit by mini-vehicle sales drops of 60.0% and 41.3%, respectively, after halting production and sales of three models in due to abnormal crash test data.

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