By on November 29, 2012

A few weeks ago, Toyota’s CFO Satoshi Ozawa told an astounded press corps (and I paraphrase for brevity): “Sure, the riots in China have an effect, but we’ll make it up elsewhere in the world.” Today, we have the data that prove Ozawa-san right. What’s more, he could have spoken for all his Japanese peers. Yes, the boycott of Japanese cars in China caused drastic cutbacks at large Japanese automakers. However, all are doing so gulpingly well elsewhere that a buyer strike in the world’s largest car market turns into nothing more than a hiccup.

Japan Big Three Global Production
Oct’12 YoY Jan-Oct’12 YoY
Toyota 787,476 -0.3% 8,469,366 32.9%
Nissan 410,961 -4.8% 4,151,257 9.5%
Honda 346,129 9.4% 3,505,552 45.7%
Company data

Today, Japan’s automakers presented their global sales and production numbers for October, and despite China, they are good. As always, I focus on production instead of sales. In this context, “sales” prove as too vague, they can be (and often are) sales to the in-house sales company, or sales to wholesale. That’s also why OICA ranks manufacturers by production, and not by sales.
Toyota’s global output remained flat in October after rising by 33 percent for the year. Honda’s output climbed 9.4 percent. Nissan’s output decreased a sedate 4.8 percent. Does that mean the losses in China weren’t as dramatic as thought? Far from it. It was a bloodbath.

China Production
Oct’12 Oct’11 YoY
Toyota 30,600 78,700 -61.1%
Nissan 61,360 109,546 -44.0%
Honda 26,302 57,382 -54.2%
Company data

In October, Toyota scaled back its China production a whopping 61.1 percent. Honda cut production by 54.2 percent, Nissan by 44 percent. In October alone, the riots did cost the Chinese economy more than 125,000 units that would otherwise have been made at Chinese joint ventures of Toyota, Nissan, and Honda.  Nissan has the highest China exposure of the three, but interestingly, Nissan and Toyota cut back by the same 48,000 units.

Where did they make up for it? A lot was gained in America. Honda’s U.S. production jumped 29.1 percent in October. Nissan’s U.S. production is up 21.3 percent. Increasingly that mysterious continent called “Others” is turning into a hot market. “Others” is where carmakers stuff countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, India and Egypt. Even after China normalizes, Japanese automakers will most likely intensify their efforts in South-East-Asia, where they have been strong anyway.

The European contagion can’t affect the Japanese much. They traditionally are underrepresented in the Old Country, and where you don’t have much, you can’t lose a lot.  Europe is a much bigger drag on GM, Ford and (via Fiat) Chrysler.

October Production and Full Year Forecast
10M ’12 10M ’11 YoY Proj ’12
Toyota 8,469,366 6,372,799 32.9% 10,163,000
GM 7,837,778 7,720,000 1.5% 9,405,000
Volkswagen 7,500,000 6,800,000 10.3% 9,000,000
Black: Company data. Blue: Projection, based on last available
Toyota, GM: Production. VW: Deliveries. Forecast by TTAC

Let’s finish this orgy for number fetishists with a check on the World’s Largest Automakers. The standings have been updated with the proper data from Toyota and Volkswagen. GM appears to be unable to provide monthly global data, we will have to wait for the Q4 results … ETA some time in February next year. Until then, we have to extrapolate.

Looking at the table, the race appears to be decided. Especially Toyota and GM are too far apart. Toyota’s end-of-year number very probably will drop below 10 million. Or with a little more of Toyota’s good luck, maybe they won’t.

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3 Comments on “Japanese Make Up For China In America...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    I just love this; the story, the pictures, of Chinese bashing those darn Japanese cars. “Hey Jhing Zhu! Bash the left tail light!!” Holy time-warped monkey-anger/UAW similarities Batman! Quentin Tarantino… where are you? We need a movie about this!

  • avatar
    blowfish

    well is a bit of convoluted or blasphemic logic, GM , big 1.5 et al and all the le blancs automakers all swarm to middle kingdom to try to get a piece of the constant shifting auto pie, whilst the nipponese are trying to justify that they had not missed much of the MK market?
    and they’re doing just as fine eh.
    is it like when your son told U I am not going to law or med school, i got accepted to our local barber school , look some day soon enuf I’ll be as rich & famous as Vidal sassoon,
    and what if billy gates had went to LS , by now we would still be writing on pen and note pads now!
    or a buyer’s remorse trying to justify his or her remon/lemon deal went south.

  • avatar

    I mean, this is just ridiculous. What the hell is wrong with these people?! Dealerships and livelihoods were ruined by this ridiculous outburst of immaturity. How deplorable of a person do you have to be that you would actively destroy others’ property just because it originates from a feuding country?!


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