The mid-September anti-Japan protests in China affected all Japanese automakers’ sales, but Toyota was the one which took the hardest hit.
Toyota, Japan’s biggest automaker, said that its China output last month fell 61% to 30,591 units, while Nissan’s sales dropped 44%, its biggest decline since 2009 and Honda was down 54%, also a record for the automaker.
“This is worse than we had expected and it shows how serious the backlash from Chinese consumers was,” said analyst Lin Huaibin. “Sales have started to pick up in November and with some carmakers such as Honda introducing new models, the worst may be over for the moment.”
According to Xu Changming, a director at China’s State Information Center, the share of the Japanese automakers’ China sales has dropped to 14% from 23% before September. According to HIS Automotive, automakers from Japan will see production cuts in 2014 and are expected to lose a combined 650,000 units in vehicle output, if the tensions between the two nations don’t stop.
GAC Toyota Motor, Toyota’s Chinese JV, said that retail sales have almost reached the levels before the protests, after the automaker cut production in the country to ease pressure on the dealerships. In October Mazda’s China output fell 28% as the company exported no cars to China last month, compared with 441 shipped in October 2011.