By on March 15, 2011

Reuters found another problem for Japanese car makers: They will miss out on China’s luxury car market. Other than the German competition, the top Japanese manufacturers export all their luxury cars to China. “With Toyota, Honda and Nissan having shut all of plants in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, exports to China will suffer,” says Reuters. That comes at a very inconvenient time.

Japanese brands are lagging their German counterparts in the hunt for profitable luxury customers. Toyota sold 48,000 Lexus cars in China last year, a mere fifth of Audi. Honda sold only some 4,000 Acuras, says Reuters.

500,000 high-end cars were sold in China last year. The segment is projected to double in the next five years. China played a leading role in the record profits of Audi, BMW and Daimler.  All three German makers produce their volume models in China, while importing cars that sell in lower numbers.

According to Goldman Sachs, the profit impact of stopping car production in Japan for one day would be about 6 billion yen ($73.3 million) for Toyota and 2 billion yen for Honda and Nissan.

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