April 1, 2014 / 6:37 AM / 3 years ago

TABLE-Japan overall auto sales up 17.4 pct in March ahead of tax hike

TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - Japan's industry-wide auto sales, including 660cc mini-vehicles, rose 17.4 percent in March from a year earlier to 783,389 vehicles, industry data showed on Tuesday, as consumers rushed to buy vehicles ahead of the sales tax hike starting in April.

Japan raised its sales tax to 8 percent on Tuesday from 5 percent. The Japanese auto lobby expects auto sales to drop 15.6 percent in the year to March 2015 to 4.75 million vehicles.

A breakdown of domestic vehicle sales data follows, with year-on-year percentage changes in parentheses. YEAR-TO-DATE JAN-MAR 2014 JAN-MAR 2013 Total 1,844,662 (+20.7) 1,528,008 Registered vehicles 1,109,661 (+17.8) 941,855 Minivehicles 735,001 (+25.4) 586,153 MARCH 2014 2013

Total 783,389 (+17.4) 667,128 Registered vehicles 481,039 (+14.5) 420,069 Minivehicles 302,350 (+22.4) 247,059 FEBRUARY 2014 2013 Total 565,170 (+18.4) 477,379 Registered vehicles 336,176 (+15.0) 292,453 Minivehicles 228,992 (+23.8) 184,926 JANUARY Total 496,105 (+29.4) 383,501 Registered vehicles 292,446 (+27.5) 229,333 Minivehicles 203,659 (+32.1) 154,168

Sources: Registered vehicle data provided by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

Minivehicle data provided by the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association. Monthly data are sometimes revised. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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