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Automobiles

Tax hike sends Japan auto sales into first decline in 3 years

Car-sharing and uninterested millennials dim long-term outlook

A Toyota dealership in Odawara, southwest of Tokyo: Automakers are taking new approaches to sales in hopes of invigorating a sluggish market. (Photo by Yoichi Iwata)

TOKYO -- Japanese sales of new automobiles likely shrank for the first time in three years in 2019 after an autumn tax increase led to a drop-off in demand.

About 5.2 million vehicles were purchased through Thursday, based on automaker and other data, undershooting the 5.27 million bought in 2018.

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