Tokyo, Japan – Total sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles in Japan in calendar year 2008 are expected to finish at 5.11 million units, a decline of 4.5 per cent from 2007, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Sales for passenger cars is expected to finish at 4.25 million units, a drop of 3.3 per cent, while trucks are forecast at 843,000 units, a decline of 10.1 per cent. The number of buses is expected to finish at 15,400 units, down 1.4 per cent.

The decline is attributable to the economic slowdown and sinking consumer confidence caused by soaring fuel prices in the first half of the year, as well as a dramatically deteriorating economy resulting from the U.S.-spawned global financial crisis starting in the fall, the Association said in a statement.

For 2008, sales of standard and small-sized passenger cars should total 2.82 million units, a decline of 4.7 per cent from 2007, while minicar sales are estimated at 1,439,000 units, a decline of 0.6 per cent.

For 2009, the Association projects that the harsh economic climate will continue, and is forecasting a total demand of 4.86 million units for all passenger and commercial vehicles, down 4.9 per cent from 2008. Expected sales for 2009 are 4.05 million units of passenger cars, 796,000 trucks, and 14,100 buses.

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