TOKYO: Japanese car buyers are continuing to stay away from dealer lots, according to the latest figures from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

These show that domestic new vehicles sales slipped for the fourth consecutive year to 3,433,829 units in 2007, a fall of 7.6% compared with 2006.

High gasoline prices and the declining birthrate have been blamed for the slump. According to the association: "The number signifies a fall of more than 2.5 million units, compared with sales in 1990 when Japan's vehicle sales peaked."

Daihatsu suffered the greatest plunge in sales of almost 50%, followed by Nissan, whose sales dropped 9.7%. Toyota Motor experienced a slip of 6%, although sales of its luxury Lexus marque rose.

Data sourced from Xinhua (China); additional content by WARC staff