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Car brands play strong suits to recapture market

By Jia Xinguang (Global Times)

09:14, December 12, 2012

Sales of Japanese cars in China jumped 72.2 percent in November compared with the previous month, according to data released Monday by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The sharp climb marks an abrupt about-face from the 29.5 percent and 38.2 percent month-on-month sales drops seen in September and October respectively, when the territorial spat centering on the Diaoyu Islands steered Chinese customers away from Japanese products.

The sharp recovery in sales underscores just how committed Japanese car brands are when it comes to reaching out to Chinese customers and maintaining their hard-won reputations for quality and reliability.

Even when anti-Japanese sentiments were at their peak in China, Japanese automakers responded quickly with efforts to allay concerns about owning Japanese cars. Since October, for example, many of Japan's largest car companies - including Nissan Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Mazda Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co - have been compensating drivers who saw their vehicles damaged during protests. Honda and Toyota have also been offering free repair services to customers who had their cars attacked during riots and demonstrations.

At the same time, Japanese auto companies did not shirk efforts to expand their presence in the country when vehicle sales decelerated. For example, many brands put more models on display at local auto exhibitions, including the closely-watched Guangzhou International Auto Parts and Accessories Exhibition in November, and announced plans to beef up their model ranges in the Chinese market.

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