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.