Japan's domestic sales of new vehicles fell 1.2 percent year-on-year to 363,370 units in May for the second consecutive month of decline, due to the effects of the consumption tax hike in April, data released by industry bodies showed Monday.
But the rate of decline was slower than April's 5.5 percent drop, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association.
The government raised sales tax on April 1 from 5 percent to 8 percent to restore the country's fiscal health.
Dealers said consumers made last-minute purchases before the tax increase, adding that the declining trend will continue till the summer bonus season. Sales of registered vehicles, which exclude mini-cars or mini-trucks, slid 5.6 percent from a year earlier.
Among Japan's top three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. sold 94,479 new cars, down 8.0 percent, while Honda Motor Corp's sales surged 64.3 percent to 30,089 units, thanks to strong demand for its next-generation hybrid model introduced last September. Nissan Motor Corp. posted a 20.2 percent drop to 25,526 units.