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Toyota sales shed 13% on islands row

By  Lu Nengneng (Shanghai Daily)

13:30, April 02, 2013

Toyota Motor Corp suffered a 12.7 percent drop in sales in the first quarter from the same period a year ago as the Diaoyu Islands dispute between China and Japan continued to hover over the Japanese automaker.

The world's largest automaker by sales last year said yesterday its China sales in March fell by 11.7 percent to 75,900 vehicles, bringing its January-March sales to 184,700 vehicles, down 12.7 percent from a year earlier.

Rao Da, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, said in a note last month that the escalation of the row at the beginning of the year was mainly responsible for the massive sales drop of Japanese car brands in China in February.

Though the low season for car buying during February's lunar New Year break contributed to the sales drop, Toyota's lackluster performance has ignited renewed concerns about the recovery of Japanese carmakers in China.

A consumer boycott has also forced the three biggest Japanese carmakers to cut back their production in China by almost half in February.

Nissan, whose sales exposure to China is the biggest among the three, cut output by 52.3 percent, Toyota trimmed it by 48.3 percent while Honda by 43.4 percent.

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