The boycott of Japan-branded cars by Chinese customers appears to be abating faster than feared by some, but not as fast as hoped by others. Nissan expects its November sales in China to be down by approximately 25 percent, Hideki Kimata, senior general manager of Nissan’s joint venture with Dongfeng, told Reuters. Yesterday, Mazda’s China chief said he expects sales in China to be down by around 35 percent in November.
Nissan’s China sales were down 41 percent in October. Toyota’s China sales had dropped 44.1 percent year-on-year to about 45,600 units in October. Honda’s China car sales plunged 54 percent in the same month. The market share of Japanese brands in China dropped to 7.6 percent in October from 12.2 percent in September and 18.6 percent in August.
Nissan sees sales to be near normal levels in China’s southeast, but still very slow in the north and east. Japanese brands traditionally have been strong in the southeast.
Honda said yesterday it will resume normal production in China from the beginning of next month. Toyota plans to introduce 20 new models in China over the next three years, the company said yesterday at the Guangzhou auto show.
However, nobody expects Japanese brands to be back to their former glory immediatley. Kimata said the outlook should become clearer after China’s Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February.
The boycott is expected to affect earnings of most Japanese automakers, and to foil Toyota’s chances of piercing the 10 million unit barrier this year.