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Asian carmakers enjoyed sharp increases in domestic sales in August, data from across the region showed on Tuesday, though a slowing global economic recovery and the end of government incentives in Japan clouded the outlook for the coming months.

In Japan, car sales jumped 46.7 per cent from a year earlier to 290,789 units, the 13th straight monthly increase and the largest rise for August, as buyers hurried to take advantage of tax breaks on the sale of lower-emission vehicles that are set to expire at the end of this month.

Domestic sales at Toyota, whose Prius petrol-electric hybrid has been the top-
selling car in Japan since the tax breaks were introduced last year, rose 43.3 per cent, while Honda’s sales climbed 61.3 per cent and Nissan’s increased by 44.6 per cent.

In South Korea, the two largest carmakers, Hyundai and Kia, also reported strong results. Hyundai reported a 17 per cent jump in sales to 288,313 units, while Kia lifted sales by 55 per cent to 150,541 vehicles.

The performance was helped by vehicle launches and the conclusion of wage agreements at both carmakers, which allowed them to avoid strikes.

Even Ssangyong Motor, which is in bankruptcy protection, saw sales more than triple last month from a year ago. The carmaker signed a preliminary agreement with India’s Mahindra & Mahindra for the sale of a controlling stake.

In India, manufacturers reported robust sales as strong economic growth and easier access to credit attracted new customers to showrooms. Maruti Suzuki, the country’s biggest passenger carmaker, reported a 23.5 per cent jump in its August car sales to 104,791 vehicles, up from 84,808 in the same month a year ago.

The group, controlled by the Japanese carmaker Suzuki, said last month’s sales were its highest yet, beating the previous record set in May.

Tata Motors, India’s biggest vehicle maker, said last month that its commercial and passenger vehicle sales rose 32 per cent to 65,938 units, up from the 49,810 sold a year earlier.

TVS Motor, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai Motor, Ford Motor, Toyota Motor, General Motors and Nissan Motor also posted higher sales for August, driven by demand for small cars.

But carmakers across the region are bracing for a tougher period as economic growth in China and the US is expected to falter.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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