We have followed the effects of the Chinese boycott of Japanese products with great interest, especially when it came to cars. Encouraged by very strong sales of German brands, we declared them the winner of the war of words. It looks like we may have made a mistake. At least if we can trust official Chinese statistics.
Market share by country, passenger vehicles, w/o SUV
|Market Share Passenger Vehicles w/o SUVs|
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers CAAM publishes monthly sets of data covering the auto business in China.
The chart, based on CAAM numbers, depicts the rapid fall of formerly market-leading Japanese brands to levels just a little bit higher than French brands. As drastic as it is, it is not surprising in light of news that major Japanese automakers lost nearly half of their sales in China, Cui bono? According to CAAM data, the market share of Chinese passenger vehicle brands (ex SUVs) jumped from 23.5 percent in August to 30.3 percent in September. We chose to ignore this, because in September, the market share of Chinese brands always jumps, only to resettle later.
In October however, the market share of Chinese brands climbed further to 31.3 percent. That while the market share of all Japanese brands in China careened from 21.1 percent in July to 9 percent in October.
Sure, German brands are up strongly, from 25.1 percent in July to 27 percent in October. However, according to these data, German brands actually saw a slight dip of market share in September. The market shares of U.S., South Korean, and French brands are up moderately.
And now the same exercise for passenger vehicles including SUVs.
Market share by country, passenger vehicles, w/ SUV
|Market Share Passenger Vehicles w/ SUVs|
Market observers we asked don’t think it is plausible that Chinese Toyota buyers cross-shop Chery or Geely. But you never know. Maybe, the anti-Japanese fervor translated into a strong pro-Chinese brand sentiment. If this could prove true, it could spell the beginning of the end of the Chinese paradise for foreign brands. We keep an eye on these data and see whether the trend solidifies.
Note: Chinese domestic brands mostly are independently owned, whereas joint venture partners of foreign makers usually are state owned enterprises.