The Japanese automakers saw their sales in China slowly recovering in December due to increased incentives.
Auto sales in China last month slightly increased as the territorial dispute between China and Japan waned and the Japanese automakers offered big incentives to attract customers. Nissan, which is the biggest Japanese automaker in China, reported a decline of 24% last month from 29.8% in November and 41% in October. Honda’s sales dropped 19.2% in December, 15.9% in November and 26.4% in October. Last year Nissan sold 1.18 million cars in China, down 5.3%, Toyota sold 840,500 cars, down 4.9% and Honda sold 598,577 cars, down 3.1%.
“Japanese cars have a large following in China because of their styling and fuel economy. Sales would continue to improve as long as the island dispute does not deteriorate, but it could take a while for them to recoup their market share,” said Sheng Ye, an analyst with industry consultancy Ipsos.
The violent anti-Japan protests erupted in September and since then Chinese customers have been avoiding the Japanese dealerships. To bring back buyers and therefore increase sales, the Japanese automakers have offered customers compensations for injuries and damages during the protests. Nissan offers a new car to any customer who returns his vehicle over a quality issue within seven days of purchase and the mileage under 1,000 km (600 miles).