Japanese car sales in record slump

Sales dropped 37 per cent in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

Japan's automotive industry has suffered the largest March fall in sales since records began in 1968, after sales fell by 37 per cent to 279,389.

Japan's largest car maker Toyota saw the biggest fall, with a 46 per cent decline in sales, while Nissan - the country's second-largest car maker - fell 38 per cent to 45,700. Honda's sales, meanwhile, dropped by 28 per cent to 43,329.

The earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear fears - which have still not been fully allayed - has affected not only industry, but also consumer confidence. The first set of economic data showing the impact of the disaster on Japan, as measured by the purchasing managers index, showed a plunge of 6.5 per cent to a two-year low.