Nissan is the largest of all Japanese automakers in China, and therefore has the most to lose. With about a quarter of its global sales in China, Nissan has the highest exposure to the ups and downs of the Middle Kingdom. When Chinese rioted in the streets, overturned Japanese cars and torched their dealerships , Nissan was beaten hard. At one point, sales of Nissan cars were cut in half.
Recently, the situation has improved a bit. Nissan’s April sales in China even booked a slight increase over April 2012. A month and a couple percent do not make a trend. Says Ghosn:
“I consider recovery achieved completely when our market share will come back to what it was before the unfortunate events of September 2012. And our forecast is that we will reach this level by the last quarter of 2013 – supposing there will be no other adverse events to deteriorate the relationship between China and Japan.
In a way, we would have lost more than one year.”
Shortly after the riots, TTAC predicted that the effects of the island row would last longer than predicted, and would hit Japanese carmakers harder than tsunami and floods – at least as far as lost sales are concerned.