Toyota Postpones Plan to Make China a Million-Unit Market image

Toyota put on hold its plans to make China its 3rd million-unit market, waiting for the anti-Japan sentiment to completely fade.

Toyota said it expects sales in China this year to increase 7% reaching 900, 000 units, after a fall of 4.9% in 2012. Last month sales dropped 16% to 90,800 units, marking the 6th straight month of decreased sales. Until the violent anti-Japan protests began in China in September, Toyota expected sales in the world’s largest auto market will hit 1 million units in 2012.

In order to bring back their Chinese customer, Toyota and other Japanese automakers have extended guarantees and increased discounts, to slightly improve sales dramatically affected by the territorial dispute between China and Japan, Asia’s two biggest economies.

“China is the world’s biggest car market, so we need to do our best to sell our cars there,” Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president, told reporters in Tokyo.

In 2012 Toyota sold 840,500 vehicles in China, marking the first annual drop since 2002. In December, Nissan and Honda announced declines of 24% and 19% respectively, to 1.18 million vehicles and 598,576 full-year deliveries.

“The Chinese market is recovering,” Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer at Nissan, said in Tokyo today, January 7th.