New automobile sales in Japan rose 11.6% year on year to 2,464,586 units in January-June after falling a year before amid the novel coronavirus crisis, industry data showed Thursday.

Still, the first-half sales remained 10% below the level two years earlier. The data was released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association.

A full recovery has not been attained due to weak sales amid the protracted pandemic and a fall in production caused by a global semiconductor shortage.

Sales of new vehicles excluding minivehicles rose 8.7% to 1,521,878 units.

Of those, sales of compact passenger cars fell 9.6% to 519,581 units, hitting the lowest level on a first-half basis since the statistics began in 1968, amid a lack of new models.

By contrast, sales of larger cars jumped 27.0% to 791,691 units, led by the popularity of such new models as Toyota Motor Corp.’s Yaris Cross SUV.

Sales of minivehicles with engine displacements of up to 660 cc rose 16.7% to 942,708 units. Honda Motor Co.’s N-Box also fared well.

In June alone, overall new vehicles sales rose 5.3% to 365,631 units, up for the ninth successive month.

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