Japan's new car sales slump

New cars sales in Japan plunged last year, as the coronavirus pandemic kept customers away from dealerships.

Auto industry groups say last year people drove home 4.6 million new cars. That's down 11.4 percent from the previous year. It was also the first time in 4 years that the figure dipped below 5 million.

Standard-sized cars, compact models and trucks account for 2.9 million units sold, down 12 percent. And just over 1.7 million mini-vehicles were sold, a drop of over 10 percent.

When the pandemic prompted a state of emergency last year, sales plummeted. In May they were down more than 40 percent from the previous year.

Auto industry groups say the future is uncertain, especially if another state of emergency is declared and more people opt to stay at home.