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|
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.
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|
|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.