Imported auto sales down 2.4% in Feb.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Sales of imported foreign-brand vehicles in the nation fell 2.4 percent from a year before to 22,817 units in February, down for the second consecutive month, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Tuesday.

The decline reflected a continuing effect from price hikes at German automakers in January and a lack of new model launches, association officials said.

But sales of clean diesel vehicle models with improved environmental performance continued to be robust, the officials said.

By brand, Mercedes-Benz held the top spot for the 36th straight month, with sales totaling 5,070 units, up 0.7 percent, followed by Volkswagen, with 3,945 units, down 5.5 percent, and BMW, with 3,628 units, down 7.9 percent.

Sales of U.S.-brand vehicles rose 24.9 percent to 1,048 units.

Vehicles imported from non-Japanese makers accounted for 7.7 percent of all new automobiles sold in the country in February, excluding minivehicles, which have engines of up to 660 cc.Speech

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