Japan car sales jump as industry recovers from tsunami

Toyota plant
Image caption Some carmakers were forced to suspend production following the tsunami in March 2011

Car sales in Japan jumped by more than a quarter last year as the industry recovered from 2011's devastating earthquake and tsunami, figures show.

Sales of cars, trucks and buses rose by 26.1% to 3,390,274 in 2012, despite a fall in December, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

State subsidies also helped to boost sales of environmentally-friendly cars.

Separately, three of Japan's biggest carmakers reported a fall in sales in China last year.

Political tensions

As a result of the tsunami in March 2011, a number of major carmakers were forced to suspend production.

However, they bounced back strongly last year, with domestic car sales up 26.3% to 3,014,651, and truck sales up 24.4%.

The small dip in sales in December was largely down to the end of government subsidies for eco-friendly cars, the association said.

Japan's carmakers fared less well in China in 2012.

Toyota said sales fell by almost 5% to 840,500, while Nissan saw a 5.3% drop to 1,181,500. Honda's sales slipped 3.1% to 598,576.

The carmakers said political tensions over a territorial dispute between Tokyo and Beijing had led to some consumers boycotting their products.

Nissan said: "The Sino-Japanese territorial disputes that began in September have seriously affected Nissan's sales and marketing activities in China."

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