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Japanese carmakers report Sept sales as 'disastrous'

By Li Fangfang  (China Daily)

13:20, October 10, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp's stand at the Beijing Auto Show in April. [Photo/China Daily]

Japanese automakers reported a "disastrous" decline in sales in September in the world's largest vehicle market as rising anger over Japan's illegal "purchase" of China's Diaoyu Islands kept consumers away from their showrooms.

Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday that its September sales in China dropped 48.9 percent year-on-year to 44,100 units, the biggest decline since January 2008.

Honda Motor Co also reported that its monthly sales dived 40.5 percent year-on-year to 33,931 units in September, the lowest figure since May 2011.

According to Dongfeng Motor Corp, the Chinese partner of Nissan Motor Co, sales of the Japanese brand's made-in-China vehicles decreased 34.6 percent from a year earlier, while Suzuki Motor Corp said its sales in China dropped 42.5 percent year-on-year.

On Friday, Mitsubishi Motors Corp announced a sales decline of 63 percent in September, while the month saw Mazda Motor Corp's China sales drop 36 percent.

"Japanese automakers and their suppliers face a tough future in China in the immediate aftermath of the protests that took place in mid-September," said Namrita Chow, senior analyst of IHS Automotive.

Nissan, Toyota, Suzuki and Mitsubishi had all previously been enjoying sales growth in China, but the next few months are likely to see severe declines which could seriously harm their prospects of meeting their 2012 sales targets.

The outlook for Japanese carmakers in China "does not augur well, with IHS Automotive forecasts expecting an immediate drop in sales and production amid concerns that the situation may extend for a longer period than previously thought", Chow added.

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