By on October 5, 2012

Sales of Japanese cars are getting hammered in China, and Hyundai is one of the chief beneficiaries of their collapse.

According to Reuters, Hyundai sales were up 15 percent last month, while Japanese auto makers saw their market share wither away in the midst of a land dispute between China and Japan. A wave of anti-Japanese sentiment in China has led Japanese car makers to scale back production right as Hyundai’s new Chinese factory comes online.

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29 Comments on “Hyundai Sales Up In China As Japanese OEMs Tank...”

  • avatar

    This is the third story in the last 24 hours reporting the same thing. You should consolidate them to also consolidate the discussion, and being that this Hyundai sales number was in Reuter’s link Bertel’s last post.

    Either way, as reported in Bertel, Hyundai’s 15% jump is nowhere near as big as VW’s Audi at 20% and BMW which jumped 55%. It seems that the German’s will benefit the most from this last dispute.

    From a pure patriotic standpoint, the German’s are the most neutral. American is seen as a Japanese ally, and China is also in a territorial dispute with S. Korea.

    Next month will be the most telling of the how long a shift in sentiment may last. After the 2005 anti-Japanese riots it was back to norm in 2 months. Anti-Japanese sentiment is taught to Chinese in ‘patriotic education’ classes, so its not like the Chinese ever had a lot of love for the Japanese to begin with.

    Either way, this is part of the risks of doing business in China. As even SOE (State-run enterprises) make up so much of the goings about in China, you never know when external-political issues may harm your business. S. Korea better make nice with China on their territorial disputes, as China is getting more aggressive with them recently, or Hyundai might be next.

    • 0 avatar

      MB went up only 10% and keep in mind that Hyundai does a lot more volume than any of the Germans, so that 15% increase means a greater increase in the no. of additional autos sold than Audi’s 20%.

      For Sept. Hyundai sold 84,188 vehicles; Audi sold 35,512.

      • 0 avatar

        Derek Kreindler is trying to make this into a Korea vs Japan story, but its not. Basically, all non-Japanese brands went up this last month.

        This is identical to the month before, which basically saw all non-Japanese brands rise that month, and all Japanese brands fall in sale.

        Also, contrary to what you say, the Germans do more volume than Hyundai. FAW-VW sold 114,700k units.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, the Germans sell more in the aggregate than Hyundai/Kia but my point is that it is easier to get higher percentage gains for luxury brands like MB, BMW and Audi which sell in lower volume – so Hyundai’s 15% gain means more additional cars sold than Audi’s 20% gain.

        Note how nos. for VW haven’t been given and I’ll bet the percentage-gain for VW is lower than for Audi since VW does a lot more volume than Audi.

  • avatar

    Dear Chinese consumers. The Germans are the Japanese ally. The US fought against Japan. What I am saying is buy a Buick.

  • avatar

    What’s strange is how NK is taking a benign stance. I would have thought CN would be poking away with a red hot poker and really getting them stirred-up in the region.

    • 0 avatar

      I’be worked with a lot of Chinese expatriates who are now living on the USA. The Chinese are as smart as we are, but their government values stability more than a lot of things that we hold sacred (like life and freedom). Poking North Korea with a hot poker would be dumb and destabilizing, so I would be very surprised to see them do something aggressive just for the hell of it.

      • 0 avatar

        Not surprising really is it? Considering the wars, revolutions, invasions etc over the last century and a half the current political situation in China must seem almost like paradise!

  • avatar

    The Unintended acceleration scare of Toyota Camries happened just as the Sonata was hitting dealers. I remember that Toyota couldn’t even SHOW YOU a Camry and Hyundai was pushing sonatas like Cheesecake.
    Then came the Japanese earthquake and yet another slowdown for the Japanese manufacturers.

    If China could come up with just one name brand car, cheap and half-the-way enjoyable, Japan would be finished.

    • 0 avatar

      They still make good cars. Ford has finally fielded a serious competitor to the Prius, as well as some other good small cars – but it takes more than that to finish off a nation’s auto industry. Making them eat some humble pie at the next auto show banquet sounds quite plausible, though!

      With the C-Max, an American manufacturer has finally built me the small car I’ve been looking for. It only took them 30 years, but I can FINALLY buy American without giving up an important attributes of the car. I looked at a Prius V a couple of months ago, and it looked phoned-in, while the C-Max is fully baked and competitive. Anyone know some good recipes for humble pie?

  • avatar

    The Chinese and Koreans both hate the Japanese.

    I just wanted to throw that out there (if you wish to refute my one line conclusive sentence please do so with at least a one line conclusive one of your own).

    On a secondary note, this means many more Korean than Japanese vehicles as a % of China’s automotive population will be recklessly piloted/torpedoed into Chinese pedestrians, other vehicles, stationary buildings & other structures, with 22-64 year old Chinese Women behind the wheel.

    I’ve been a passenger in a vehicle with a driver about 4 times in China. That was very entertaining.

    (Again, please format refutations of this conclusion in at least similar fashion).

    Thank you.

    • 0 avatar

      Unicorns poop chocolate and fart air freshener. (if you wish to refute my one line conclusive sentence please do so with at least a one line conclusive one of your own.)

      Why don’t you support your assertions with some balls instead of repeating cliched drivel?

      • 0 avatar


        Which assertion; that Koreans & Chinese hate the Japanese, or that Chinese Women recklessly navigate/propel their vehicles into pedestrians, other vehicles, stationary buildings & other structures with alarming regularity?

    • 0 avatar

      When I first met a girl I began dating in Fu Dan University (taking business and language courses in Shanghai), all she could talk about was how much she hated the Japanese. I understand where the anger is coming from, but it was so odd to go from a conversation about music and movies – right into a diatribe about Japanese women being two faced.

      I’m like “waaaaaaaa???”

  • avatar

    so its not like the Chinese ever had a lot of love for the Japanese to begin with.

    not with standing the Nan king massacre, i guess u haven’t read the history far back enuf.
    or why they dont play Wagner’s music in Israel.

  • avatar

    Up next, Majority of LWB Equus production goes to China.

    That would truly demonstrate Chinese acceptance.

  • avatar

    The Germans did apologize for their atrocities and Nippon dont think so.
    people do move on and dont really wanted to keep remind of the painful past.
    Nippon also screwed with many Korean gals too, as promised them with good factory job, but infact being forced to work in brothels for the Imperial army!

    So as Old blighty’s Queen Vicky and the her seventh cohoots invaded Middle Kingdom, and the unequal treaty commandeered the Fragrance Harbour away.
    Our folks none the less had bury the hachet away for long time,
    there’re going to have blood spilled in any hostilities.
    Just before the 2nd WW, Shanghai had so many treaty districts, foreigners were greatly protected there. But people were able ply their lives.
    Nippon this time bite off something too big to chew!
    The longer they dont wanna to resolve this squabble the longer their car sales suffer.
    Only benefitted the europeans & uncle sam.

    • 0 avatar

      > The Germans did apologize for their atrocities and Nippon dont think so.people do move on and dont really wanted to keep remind of the painful past.

      I think this is the biggest myth out there. Even if the German’s did officially apologize, they’ve had there own internal struggles with coming to grips about their Nazi past, many not willingly. While an apology would make things better, considering how eager the Chinese are to take offense at something, I’m not sure I see what short term good it will do. In the 80’s, when we were getting to know the Ascending Japanese, their concept of ‘saving’ face was novel to North Americans… trust me, culturally, the Chinese are much worse in this aspect.

      Another difference is that the western nations have come to see WWI and WWI as human tragedies rather than as a national wrong. On Veterans/Remembrance/VE day, we tend to remember the wars as a reminder to avoid them. Clearly, that’s not how the Chinese remember the Japanese occupation. We can’t judge because it wasn’t our suffering, but if you want to engender a prolonged nationalistic suffering for sufferings sake, you only have to look at Germany the period in-between WWI and WWII.

      And lest we forget… before it was fashionable to hate the Japanese, the Chinese have also never truly forgiven the west for the Opium wars as well.

      • 0 avatar

        Not to jack the thread, but the Germans DID apologize for their wartime activities. And paid ALL OF THEIR REPARATIONS. Some of that money was used to help the State of Israel, which would have been unthinkable at one time.

        Of course there would be internal struggles regarding the national past, I think that any healthy society WOULD have these. As a nation grows and times change, they would review their past actions. This only makes sense. I can’t imagine what it is you think the German government and people should do.

        Back on topic: I can’t imagine this will brew into a serious storm. The Japanese and the Chinese are both smart people and businessmen. They know this would only lead to tears for far more than just themselves.

      • 0 avatar

        @ Geozinger

        The discussion for this article has completely devolved.

        But let’s get some facts straight. Japan has apologized dozens of times and they have paid reparations. In fact it was part of the San Francisco Peace Treaty that they do so. They’ve even given additional reparations to individuals countries, as well as compensation for atrocities like comfort women via the Asian Women’s Fund.

        Beyond that Japan has given billions of dollars in aid to China, S. Korea, and most of Asia. And continue to do so. Japan still sends $1.2 billion every year in aid to China, a country that is now larger than Japan economically.

        In this island spat the Japanese are just a convenient stawman. Those islands have little to nothing to do with WW2, they were claimed in 1885, China only first protested in 1971 after oil was discovered nearby. Its about oil and natural resources.

        But more importantly its a perfect distraction. China is dealing with a huge economical slowdown, massive inflation, labour and wage disparities, Bo Xilai murder and corruption scandal, and a once-a-decade change in leadership. Anti-Japanese sentiment is taught in school in ‘patriotic education’ class, its a great time to tap that to distract the populous from real issues they are facing.

      • 0 avatar

        Has got it right. But there are an awful lot of Chinese who don’t care either way about the Japanese and also a bunch of Chinese who love Japanese too.

        this is political showboating, when the police come to a building the night before and tell you you can’t enter or leave the next day during specific times, and then you get a demonstration during those specific times, you realize what you’ve seen here in China is a carefully staged play.

        I think what’s happened is that some people joined in because they are just generally angry and were able to vent their frustration in a way that was seen as “acceptable” The demonstrations really were shut down after signs criticizing the Chinese government started showing up at these things.

        Overall this is a farce and an excuse to create media attention (and yes I’ve been to smaller cities during this time and it’s the same the average person on the street could care less)

        People here just want to feel safe and the truth is, without openness in their government, they will never feel safe.

      • 0 avatar

        The Japanese “apologies” were always conditional, unlike that for Germany and Japanese war criminals are still revered in Japan (whereas, we don’t see German politicians paying homage to Hitler, Goering, etc.)

        And there are many prominent Japanese politicians, like the Governor of Tokyo and the Mayor of Osaka, who deny atrocities like Nanjing and the forced sexual slavery – and one is likely to become the next PM of Japan.

        Go to museums in Japan where Japan is depicted as the “victim” in WWII.

      • 0 avatar


        Japanese apologies were never conditional. I think there is a continued myth that Japan hasn’t apologized and isn’t remorseful for its past due to actions of some politicians. The diplomat explains it best in a recent article:

        “The often unrecognized fact is that Japanese government and society have made concerted efforts to understand, reconcile, and apologize for Japan’s wartime aggression. This includes teaching about Japan’s imperial expansion and aggression (i.e. Nanjing, comfort women, forced labor) in textbooks that, according to a recent Stanford study by Daniel Sneider and Shin Gi-Wook, presents an unpatriotic account of Japan’s role (i.e. not inculcating patriotism or glorifying the war). It also includes the establishment of the quasi-public Asian Women’s Fund to compensate comfort women, which dispersed a handwritten apology by the sitting premier to those receiving compensation.

        Importantly, since the 1990s, there has been a flurry of apologies for Japan’s wartime aggression. This includes the 1995 Murayama Statement, which stands as Japan’s official apology. It was preceded and followed by dozens of other apologies and statements of remorse by premiers and the current Emperor. The list is large and includes statements issued directly to South Korea, such as when premiers Toshiki Kaifu and Kiichi Miyazawa apologized to President Roh Tae-Woo in May 1990 and January 1992, respectively, for Japan’s actions against the Korean people, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s comfort women apology in June 1996 to President Kim Young-Sam, and Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s December 2010 apology for the colonization of Korea, which included the return of some 1,200 volumes of Korean royal documents looted during Japan’s annexation.

        Despite this, the actions of individual Japanese politicians that counter these official efforts receive the majority of attention. This includes statements that contradict official apologies or politicians visiting Yasukuni Shrine, where 2.5 million war dead are honored, including 14 Class-A war criminals enshrined in 1978. Although these actions represent the personal views of a minority, they are often treated as representation of the dominant sentiment in Japan. In turn, they negate any positive forward-momentum gained by official government efforts.”

  • avatar

    the Opium war, infact we had nobody to blame but Empress Dowager to blame, she misappropriated all the needed funds to built her little lovely garden. the needed money could spend on re-arming cannons on the coast and new war ships from the occidentals, instead of she blew it on ornamental things.

    Any invasion is going to have some pillage & plunder, but nanking massacre was quite overkill literally.

    Anyways the question at bar now are how’re they going to fix the car sales?
    The commandeering of this tiny island is costing them a big fortune.
    Car sales is the most sensitive, is no different than right after Pearl harbour being invaded and u go out to buy a Toyonda.
    Is different to buy house hold goods that one can hide at home, a new car is too flashy for your friends & neighbour to miss on the radar screen.
    Is going to be a zero sum game, if not settled amicably Japs are forced to sell their car plants at fire sale, Guandong motor et al will be laughing all the way to the bank.
    Ghosn is going to be caught between rock & a hard place, since he’s with Nissan.
    Or rebadge everything to renault so as to fly under the radar screen so to speak.

  • avatar

    middle kingdom and taiwan govt were never invited!

    People’s Republic of China Objections to the Treaty
    Due to the ongoing Chinese Civil War and thus the question of which Chinese government was legitimate, neither the Republic of China in Taiwan nor the People’s Republic of China in mainland China were invited to the treaty negotiations.
    On August 15, 1951 and September 18, 1951 the People’s Republic of China published statements denouncing the treaty, stating that it was illegal and should not be recognized. Besides their general exclusion from the negotiation process, the PRC claimed that the Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands and Pratas Islands in the South Pacific were actually part of China. [10]The treaty either did not address these islands, or in the case of the Pratas Islands turned them over to the United Nations

    Infact both of them should be invited to the table.
    By 1951 The Commies aka PRC ( ascended to throne at 1949 )were already in power, is not different than not subpoena a badly beaten victim to an assault case, how the judge & crown to decide how bad was the assault?
    Is a raw deal thats all or Arnuld would have put it!

    • 0 avatar

      This is getting ridiculous.

      Taiwan signed the Treaty of Taipei, which basically was identical to the Treaty of San Francisco, and was negotiated simultaneously. China/Taiwan weren’t formally invited because there was no legitimate Chinese government due to the civil war.

      It took longer to normalize relations with the communist side because they invaded Tibet and intervened in the Korean War while the Peace Treaty was being negotiated (and was at war with pretty much everyone at the negotiation table). The Cultural Revolution and China’s war with India delayed things further. So it wasn’t until the 70s that the ‘Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China’ was signed.

      BTW the Senkaku islands in dispute were taken by the US along with Okinawa. The US used to bomb those islands as target practice. Its only in the 70s that the US returned them to Japan, and its only after oil was discovered that China laid claim to those islands. They were never in dispute before that.

  • avatar

    Just getting the thread back on track, I think tour operators for Mount Fuji said that they thought that Chinese tourism would take six months at least to get back to normal; may or may not translate. Cars are expensive in China. Sure BMW and Audi can have a boost because of this, but eventually they’ll run out of steam. If you couldn’t afford an Audi before all of this started, that didn’t change afterwards.

  • avatar

    Did also read about Middle kingdom never spoke for those island back when they have the right though.
    The plot thickens as when oil & gas were found there.
    Still is kind of under the sword of damocles for the both sides.
    Just not all that simple to disarm this timely bomb that can go off.

    Isn’t that another ugly truth too!

    “The Japanese “apologies” were always conditional, unlike that for Germany and Japanese war criminals are still revered in Japan (whereas, we don’t see German politicians paying homage to Hitler, Goering, etc.)

    And there are many prominent Japanese politicians, like the Governor of Tokyo and the Mayor of Osaka, who deny atrocities like Nanjing and the forced sexual slavery – and one is likely to become the next PM of Japan.

    Go to museums in Japan where Japan is depicted as the “victim” in WWII.”

    • 0 avatar

      The military museum (Yushukan) on the grounds of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, has been accused of displaying a more “revisionist” view of WWII in its exhibits.

      Now the Peace Memorial Park museum in Hiroshima, is a bit different – their view is more of an anti-nuclear sentiment. Not surprisingly, Hiroshima politicians have historically had pacifist political stances, and one of the things they do is to send a petition to all of the nuclear powers like the USA, France and Russia to stop the deployment of nuclear arms.

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