Page last updated at 07:02 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 08:02 UK

Japanese auto sales see decline

Toyota Highlander
Toyota is worried about falling sales of big vehicles in the US

Automobile sales in Japan fell 6.1% in May compared with the same month in 2007, according to the Japanese Automobile Dealers Association (JADA).

JADA blamed the fall on having one fewer selling day in the month compared with last year and on April's sales being boosted by tax changes.

Sales by Toyota fell 2.8% while Nissan sales were down by 11.4%, but Honda managed a 5.1% rise.

Overall there were 221,377 vehicles sold, excluding 660cc minivehicles.

The sales level for May is about half the peak level, achieved in 1990, JADA said.

As sales fall in Japan, Toyota is also considering downgrading its growth forecast in the US, according to the Financial Times.

Toyota's president Katsuaki Watanabe told the FT: "As of now we haven't changed our original annual plan yet, but we may have to scale back."

The carmaker is worried that an expected drop in sales of big vehicles such as SUVs and pick-up trucks will not be made up for by sales of smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles such as its Prius hybrid.

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