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The initial prognosis for the Volkswagen Up! in Japan is going the same direction as the name of the car: three weeks after launch, 3,000 orders have been placed in Nippon. That beats Ford's sales total for the entire year and is almost a month's worth of BMW imports. Posting those numbers, Japan's Nikkei newspaper says the Up! "may beat the Golf subcompact to become the German automaker's most successful new-car launch in Japan."

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami has wreaked havoc on Japanese automakers' ability to build new vehicles, while also shuttering many suppliers that automakers around the world count on for production. Integrity Exports reports the devastating natural disaster has thrown a massive wrench in auto sales as well.