By on November 22, 2012

Toyota will launch two China-only brands next year, one for each of its two Chinese joint ventures, a Toyota executive told Reuters today.  Toyota had been one of the last hold-outs in the China-only business, after most other makers had caved in to the strong suggestions of the Chinese government that China-only brands are good for the Chinese joint venture.

Readers of TTAC have seen this coming for more than half a year. At the Beijing Auto Show, a Toyota executive had told TTAC that this would happen. Other makers, such as GM and Nissan, had middling success with their China-only brands.

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5 Comments on “Toyota To Launch Two China-Only Brands...”

  • avatar

    Unless they really cloak their Japaneseness for the short term, i cant see this going well. All of the chinese brands of the japanese makers have been down the tubes since the japan bashing began…. they will have to make sure that this isnt any different. Idk maybe the japanese car makers can do some well publicized community service projects? does anyone think that it could help boost their image?

    • 0 avatar

      The problem isn’t so much the “Japanese-ness” of the brand.

      The problem is that while many Chinese consumers appreciate the quality of Japanese products, they are conflicted by the fact that the country from which these products hail, have done so much to injure China in the last 100 years.

      When I was living in northeastern China, every few month there would be an article in the paper or on TV about how a buried bomb (or sometimes chemical weapon) left by the Imperial Japanese Army during WW2 would be discovered buried in a field. Sometimes these would explode when discovered by inattentive construction crews, or even in some cases, schoolchildren playing in the countryside.

      While rationally one can separate these events from today’s Japanese companies (with the exception of Mitsubishi perhaps, who had a direct hand in perpetrating all sorts of atrocities during the war), it is nevertheless hard to not think about the relationship when buying a car.

      The only way really for these companies to boost their image, is to lobby the government in Tokyo to adopt a less denial-based approach to history, much as the Germans have done since the war.

      It is often particularly alarming when I talk to Japanese friends, who believe honestly that Japan was the victim of aggression during the war.

      Having subsidiary companies masquerading around with “Chinese” names would probably do little to improve their prospects in China.

  • avatar

    Was the island dispute part of the strong suggestion?

    One can only hope the CCP croaks within this decade.

    • 0 avatar

      Not really, no. The Chinese government has decided that the only way for Chinese manufacturers to truly become competitive globally is for domestic Chinese brand names to be cultivated and upgraded with modern products. They also resent foreign brand names holding such a large share of the marketplace.

      Basically, the mandate is designed to get modern, competitive Chinese-brand products on the market with the backing and support of major global automakers, it’s supposed to be a shot in the arm for the domestic industry.

      In practice, it’s backfired. There are already too many brands on the market, foreign joint venture companies are only making their old, outdated technologies available for the new brands, and the buying public is able to recognize them as older models recast under new names.

      • 0 avatar

        Recognized brands are results of cut-throat competition and not cultivation. I guess the CCP didn’t fully learn the lesson when their planned economy didn’t go according to plan.

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