TOKYO, Sept. 2 (Kyodo) -- Sales of new imported vehicles in Japan plunged about 40 percent in August for the fourth straight monthly decline, affected by high gasoline prices and an economic slowdown in the country, industry sources said Tuesday.
Sales excluding Japanese-brand vehicles built overseas fell nearly 30 percent, the sources said.
High gasoline prices and the economic slowdown appear to have seriously affected sales of imported vehicles, which are mostly high priced and large, the sources said.
The Japan Automobile Importers Association will release data for imported vehicle sales in August on Thursday.
Among foreign automakers, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which often occupy the top three spots in sales by brand, all suffered sales drops, the sources said.
The sharp fall in overall sales was also due to the shift in the production site for Nissan Motor Co.'s Dualis sport utility vehicle from Britain to Japan, the sources said.