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New hurdle for Japan's carmakers

By John Zeng  (China Daily)

08:13, September 25, 2012

Dealership appeals to patriotism in promoting the sale of domestic-made cars. [Photo/China Daily]

The dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands this month is just the latest blow to Japanese carmakers.

As the pearl of the Japanese economy, the automobile industry will undoubtedly be the first to feel the impact.

As anti-Japan demonstrations spread, its automobiles became a target. In some cities Japanese dealerships were attacked and the normal operation of Japanese auto companies has been disturbed.

Many customers are choosing other brands due to fear of their cars being attacked, with many who pre-ordered canceling or postponing their purchase.

Japanese cars had already registered a 2 percent decline in China sales in August, allowing German carmakers to surpass them in market share for the first time.

The chief operating officer of Nissan Motor, Toshiyuki Shiga, said the poor sales performance in August was due to difficulty in implementing advertising activities, with most of its outdoor advertising cancelled.

Before the end of August, Toyota cancelled all advertising in China. Other outdoor activities were cancelled at the beginning of September, surely resulting in worsening sales performance in the days to come.

Ozaki Qing, vice-president of Mazda, said "the negative factors in the first half of 2012 were the exchange rate and the Chinese market".

But can Japanese brands withstand a failure in the world's biggest auto market? The answer is a definite "no", as we can see from financial statements.

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