Toyota Struggle to Reach Lexus Sales Target for 2012 image

Toyota struggles to reach Lexus’s sales target for this year, as demand for Japanese cars has dropped dramatically in China.

“There is the issue of China, and the hurdles are very high. But we still have three months left, so we are doing our best to achieve that target,” Kiyotaka Ise, a Managing Officer of Toyota who heads Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus, told reporters.

Sales of all Japanese vehicles have dropped since mid-September amid increased tensions between the two nations. The last month’s violent protests begun after Japan bought a group of disputed islands located in the East China Sea.

Since China is the largest auto market in the world and the second market for Lexus after North America, Toyota’s auto sales dropped 48.9% in September compared with the same period last year. The automaker has sold 53,000 Lexus vehicles in 2011 in China, most of them produced by Toyota Motor Kyushu.

Toyota announced it will halt production in China in October due to the China-Japan conflict. The automaker will offer Chinese employees minimum levels of work to maintain employment and it will also stop all exports from Japan to China, including the Lexus models. Toyota has set its October production plans and profit in China at 0.