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Japan automakers reach for 40% American market share

SUVs seen pulling up Japanese auto sales in U.S.

| Japan

TOKYO -- Japanese automakers are looking to lift their share of the U.S. market to the highest level in eight years this fiscal year, betting on the growing popularity of sport utility vehicles to take them there despite signs of an overall market slowdown.

In fiscal 2017, which ends March 2018, six major Japanese automakers -- Toyota Motor, Nissan MotorHonda Motor, Subaru, Mazda Motor and Mitsubishi Motors -- are aiming to sell a record 6.8 million vehicles combined, according to a Nikkei Inc. compilation of their business plans. The tally marks a roughly 3% rise on the year, enabling their aggregate market share to reach 40% for the first time -- aside from a one-off rise to that level in fiscal 2009, when American automakers suffered significant sales declines following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

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