By on March 11, 2010

Remember when Akio Toyoda, coming back from the U.S.A. went to Beijing in a hurry? China is an important growth market for Toyota. Toyota had been doing well in China, last year they sold 709,000 units, about the same as GM China if you don’t count the Wuling vans. Suddenly, Toyota is falling from grace in the Middle Kingdom. For the first time in years, Toyota dropped off the top 10 list of the best-selling cars in the Chinese market last month, reports Gasgoo, citing data released by China Passenger Car Association.

Toyota China recently said its total sales in February rose 30 percent from a year earlier to 45,400 vehicles. However, that underperformed the market that had risen 46 percent in February.

The reason? You guessed it. A survey by Chinese website sina.com shows that 73.6 percent of 258,000 online respondents said they would not buy Toyota or Honda branded cars after the recalls, with only 16.4 percent saying Japanese cars are still their favorite choices. In a market with more than 100 auto makers, that’s a vote of confidence.

Toyota is wooing  Chinese buyers with zero-interest financing for some of its models, they are also throwing in a year’s premium of car insurance and two years of 24-hour roadside assistance to new buyers. Let’s watch the charts of the coming months.

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12 Comments on “Toyota Off The Charts In China. Not In A Good Way...”


  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Seems as though the old adage “As it goes in California, so it will go in the rest of the US,” been updated to “so it goes in China”!

    It will be interesting to see in next month’s sales figures whether Toyoda-san’s charm-offensive had any effect in the Middle Kingdom.

    (btw, anybody know if there is a Chinese eqivalent of “If it will play in Peoria, it will play anywhere”? Peiking maybe?)

  • avatar
    crash sled

    ” A survey by Chinese website sina.com shows that 73.6 percent of 258,000 online respondents…”

    .

    .

    Heh. So, you’re looking at an online poll, Bertel? And one in China, to boot? Come on, man, you can’t possibly be that naive! I wouldn’t trust that result here, let alone there.

    And seriously, did you ever think the Chicoms were gonna allow the Japanese to gain a serious foothold in that market, one that seriously enriched them? Waaaaaaay too much historical bad blood there for that to ever occur, imo. Sure, some technology-theft-enabling capital investments will be allowed, but I wouldn’t ever expect the warlords to move much beyond that.

    It will definitely be interesting to see how the Japanese play this out, however. They shouldn’t want to cut the cord completely, but they’ll have to carefully strategize their approach (sorta like they’re having to do here with Government Motors, actually).

    • 0 avatar

      Crash Sled, as far as the “Chicoms” go, you are living unsalvageably in an ancient past. We had a discussion about religions in various countries a few days ago, and when my Chinese friends were asked what they believe in, one said “money” and the others clapped in applause.

      Chinese are business people. Things of the past are things of the past. The Japanese automakers have a serious foothold in China. They are also feared and accepted as masters of quality. China has many joint ventures going with the Japanese, and they won’t let politics get between business. When FAW decided to resurrect their fabled “Red Flag” car to its former glory, they could choose between Audi (existing joint venture) and Toyota (existing joint venture.) Their monstrous Hongqi HQ3 is based on the Toyota Crown Majesta. The V 12 engine in chairman Hu Jintao’s state mobile is rumored to come from the Toyota Century. For appearances’ sake, it is officially self developed. I know I should save my breath and keystrokes, you will just believe what you will believe. But it’s the truth, even if you will deny it. China has nothing else in mind than becoming rich and prosperous. And they will deal with anybody who is useful to achieve that goal.

      Come on over. I’ll take you around and make you a convert.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Bertel, the past is but prologue, and the ancient past you reference merely means the prologue is a bit longer than most. Like I say, the Chinese know all this far better than you or I, no matter what they’re allowed to say publicly.

      Now, does this imply that I’m disparaging the Chicoms? Of course not, they’re acting (mostly) rationally, if self servingly and illegally, and brutally at times.

      I say “rational” because for the average Chinese, as compared to the more recent portions of their prologue, totalitarian control has significant positives. China is sorta like Mexico, which has a recent history chock full of bloodshed and chaos. And Mexico, pound for pound, had more of it than even China, quiet as it’s kept(excluding Mao’s bloody reign of course). There’s a reason why you go to Mexico and one of the oft repeated memes concerns the need to “keep the peace”. They know the results when it’s not kept, and it was bloody. Similar attitude in China, I suspect. And wealth and “money” is a part of the fruits obtained from keeping the peace, as it should be. I’d note, however, that the religion of “money” is basically the only religion the Chicoms allow. Violate that the wrong way, and the penalty is death.

      No doubt the Chicoms engage in business… state controlled business. No argument about that. My son cut his international teeth over there, spent a 1/2 year starting up a line, 10+ years ago. A small, sleepy Chinese village of about 1.5M people. Excellent people, clever and resourceful and friendly, living in a dirty place physically, and governmentally, although little of that showed on the surface, and all went nearly unspoken.

      Remember what these Chinese folks are comparing against. It ain’t pretty. My Chinese friends were talking about these new welcome changes 20 years ago, because they remembered the brutality in their lifetime, visited on those close to them. Family reportbacks were all positive though, at that point. That’s all fine, but keep in mind where they’re coming from, and where they are still at now. Past is prologue. If they manage to lift out the “salvageable” portions of it, and reject the unsalveageable, and eventually reject the totalitarian regime, I’m all for it. ‘Til then, expect the corruption and brutal control to continue. And it’d be nice if the warlords spent some of their swag on the people, rather than loaning it to Washington.

      I can come visit sometime, but for now, better that you should take a visit here: http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=363&year=2009&country=7586

      When this status changes, maybe then I’ll become a convert. ‘Til then, you and the Chicom warlords will have to accept all the disparaging comments that come their way.

    • 0 avatar

      If you rely on the 10+ old tales of your son who spent half a year in a village, then you live unremoveably in the past.

      If you let Freedomhouse make your travel plans, then a lot of the world will remain closed to you forever. Also see http://cgi.stanford.edu/group/wais/cgi-bin/?p=17255

      Warlords? Which war did China start since 1949? Which foreign country did it occupy?

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      FAW is also partnered with Mazda via Haima… which makes excellent “self-developed” cars based on older Mazda designs, and is coming out with its own version of the Mazda3.

      Excellent cars, by the way. You can hardly tell they’re Chinese except for one or two minor bits of plastic.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Goodness, Bertel, if one didn’t know any better, one would think you’re viscerally carrying water for the Chicom warlords. Careful there, they might be monitoring this site, and you’re not carrying full pails!

      As I say, past is but prologue, and the Chinese know this far better than you or I. They actually study history, and they have more of it to study than about anybody else (and it ain’t a pretty tale). This is the tiger the Chicom warlords are riding, and if they suddenly dismount….

      Similarly, that’s why the United States had to park 3/4 million troops in Europe for a 1/2 century, because it knew the Euros have a great passion for killing each other, in volume, and it inevitably dragged them into it. So they sent over the 3/4M hostages, and paid for their quartering, knowing that past is but prologue, and they’d be paying for it one way or the other, now or later. The Euros’ historical killfest is always but a breath away, as we see in the Balkans, where they’re still acting on 500 year old grudges.

      People don’t generally forgive and forget as a decision, it’s more of a process. Both in Europe and China, that process is ongoing, and absent concerted effort, that process breaks down, and many die. This is the tiger the warlords are riding, and I don’t envy them their ride. Sure, they and their friends rake off a little cash along the ride, but the main of their work is deadly serious, and I’m sure they know it. I think you misunderstand the term “warlord”, a job description whose prime component is governance, not warmaking. Their whole point is to invoke fear in the governed, so as to facilitate their prime responsibility, which is to make payroll, same as any business. Since all of life breaks down to scenes from The Godfather, you should think “Corleone family” here, and let that be your model of what the Chicom warlords are engaging in. Blood is expensive, but sometimes it’s a necessary part of business, if you’re in that sorta business.

      And yes, that business sometimes includes shedding blood outside China, long past your arbitrary 1949 date, including in Korea, Tibet, which is still being occupied and brutally repressed, along their India borders of course, where they’ve had some short and sharp military engagements. But mostly, they kill their own, as is the warlord’s wont. Mao was the most efficient and productive practicioner of that portion of the business. It is faint praise to proclaim movement away from mass-murder as progress, indeed.

      I don’t think we could find anybody serious who doesn’t accept that China is a brutal totalitarian regime, Bertel, and you’re not even making a very good effort to do so here. I’d assume a falun gong member is getting a bullet in the back of the head today, or later on in the week, for simply speaking their mind. Plug that bullet/head JID-assembled commodity into your model, and get back with me.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    I would not put too much value in any China news, just wait till a lot of GM products have serious problems in China like they had here in North America, time will tell and the clock is ticking!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    My how time flies.

    March 5th: “According to popular wisdom, the Chinese have no love lost for the Japanese. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that China would jump on the “down with Toyota” bandwagon with 2.6b feet? Just the opposite is true. The Chinese government urges caution, tells its auto industry to watch and learn, and to step up its quality. What’s going on here?”

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/china-learn-from-toyota/

  • avatar

    How long do I have to wait for Toyota to hit $10? (or less) before I can buy a shitload of shares.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      It won’t happen.

      The poll is dominated by “angry youth” (if you get what I mean) that couldn’t afford any Toyota car anyway.

      Stock investors is a far more intelligent specie.

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    Umm…

    This isn’t news.

    Why…

    Because THEY want imported cars.. = they view domestic cars the way we do.


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