01/05/2012 04:34 EST | Updated 03/05/2012 05:12 EST

Japanese new car sales fall 16.7 per cent last year, due mostly to tsunami disaster

TOKYO - Japan's nationwide dealers' association said that new car sales declined 16.7 per cent last year to 2,689,074 vehicles.

Japan Automobile Dealers Association official Michiro Saito said the drop was mainly due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters, which disrupted manufacturers' supply chains.

The association says car sales rose 10.6 per cent in 2010 to 3,229,716.

Prior to 2010, sales had fallen for at least five years.