Japanese Automakers Report Tumbling Auto Sales in China image

All Japanese automakers have reported lower sales in China last month, a clear sign that their market share in what is the largest auto market will continue to fall.

Toyota reported China sales in September down 48.9%, Honda’s sales dropped 40.5%, Nissan fell 34.6% and Suzuki’s sales to Chinese dealerships were down 42.5%. The violent protests in China broke out last month after Japan purchased two of the East China Sea islands from their private owners. Analysts predict that sales will continue to fall as long as the diplomatic tension between the two nations remains.

“We had cut our 2012 sales forecast of Japanese cars by 100,000, but it seems to be way too conservative now,” said John Zeng, Asia Pacific director for industry consultancy LMC Automotive.”We had previously expected them to sell 3.04 million, but it will be great if they could move 3 million.”

Toyota and its joint ventures in China sold 44,100 units last month, and from January to September the automaker reached 640,200 units, up 4.6% compared with the same period last year. Nissan, Honda and Mazda are the most exposed to the Chinese market, and therefore most affected by this tension.