Chinese Continue To Shun Japanese Cars
Chinese sales of Japanese makes continue to suffer from the fallout of the islands row. Toyota told Reuters that Chinese sales were down 22.1 percent YoY in November. Mazda’s China sales were down 29.7 percent compared to November last year, Reuters says. The severity of the drops has lessened, but it will be a while until Japanese brands return to their regular growth pattern in China.
Toyota’s China sales were down 44 percent in October, those of Mazda were down 45 percent in the same month.
Sales of other Japanese makers such as Nissan and Honda are expected to follow a similar pattern.
Japanese carmakers have stepped up their marketing activities in China, reimbursed customers for damages caused by violent demonstrations, even offer some kind of a riot warranty that protects the owner from – at least financial – losses. However, the fear is that the image of Japanese brands as a whole has been damaged in China, and that will take much longer to repair than a turned-over car.
Why do Chinese care about this? Is the government making it into a big thing? I suspect it would be less of a big thing if it weren't for the government.
One of the things that Communism did was prevent the average Chinese from speaking their mind or having a level of freedom to express an opionion. Now that several million folks are seeing a time when the Party is no longer controlling every facet of their lives, some of the frustrations the Chinese people have experienced for the past eighty years is beginning to come out. So you see, the problem here isn't that these protests are approved by the Party, it is that these protests are what is going to happen now that the Party is no longer ruling with an iron fist. The Communists kept old hostilities from breaking out. One of those hostilities is Anti-Japanese sentiment lingering from the 1920s-1950s. The Communists were too busy to meter out grievances against their old enemy. Instead, they had the Chinese Nationals to deal with. By the time the Chinese Communists settled old scores among their own people, they turned to other issues. Well, now the Communists are passe, and those age-old grievances against the Japanese are beginning to express themselves. As the Communist status quo fades, the accountrements that caame along with insider Party success is also fading. One of those is Japanese cars. They were embraced by the new Chinese middle class as symbols of success. No longer. Driving a Japanese car is no longer cool. Not only does it open you to outright attacks, it is an emblem of a dying Party structure. It is a symbol of oppression by millions of Chinese. I just don't see this situation tuning around for the Japanese brands. American brands run this risk as well, but on a much lesser note.