By on March 4, 2013

As expected, sales of Japanese cars in China took a nosedive to levels not seen since the days after Japanese cars and dealerships were torched last September. Sales of Nissan and Toyota are down a whopping 46 percent. No, it’s not a new flare-up of anti-Japanese riots. This time, it’s the effect of the Chinese Lunar calendar.

Chinese Sales By Japanese Brands
Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Jan/Feb
Toyota -49.0% -44.1% -22.1% -15.9% 23.5% -45.7% -13.30%
Nissan -35.0% -41.0% -29.8% -24.0% 22.20% -46.00% -14.10%
Honda -41.0% -54.0% -29.2% -19.2% 22.00% -27.00% -4.00%
Data: Companies via Reuters, Nikkei

In January, sales of all cars in China, including Japanese, were up compared to January 2012, simply because Chinese New Year fell into February. February sales of all cars will be reported as way down, simply because China was closed.

Instead of this whacko chart that shows January and February sales, and that does nothing except making people dizzy…

… we present you with consolidated sales for both months to get rid of the calendar effect. As you can see, five months after the anti-Japanese riots, sales of cars with Japanese nameplates are still hurting in the Middle Kingdom. There is a steady trend towards normalization, but it is tough slogging. Considering that the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue remains in the news in China, the Japanese crawl back to normal is remarkable. When all is said and done, and assuming no real flare-up, Japanese carmakers will have lost a full year of growth in China.

P.S.: I am looking forward to reading how the merry spinsters at GM sell their huge (calendar-induced) February loss of sales in China … Currently, mum’s the word.

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5 Comments on “Japanese Auto Sales In China Way Down Crawling Back To Normal...”

  • avatar

    I realize the Chinese aren’t gonna win any popularity contests (nor should they), but the map probably demonstrates better than anything why even the most anti-Communist of ethnic Chinese will still take sides against Japan on the issue of the Diaoyutai Islands.

    And for those who have taken a look at the history of this tiny island chain (and of the mutual history of the 2 countries wrangling over them – particularly between 1905-the present), the anger over Japanese claims becomes understandable.

    It’s not solely because China is expansionist either – take a look at the South Koreans (hardly people we would call militarily expansionist) – they named their largest carrier “Dokdo” after disputed islands that are (once again) claimed by Japan to be theirs.

    • 0 avatar

      Japanese claims to the islands disputed by SKorea and China arise from around 1900; a bit ironic considering that the Japanese are also disputing islands that the Russians took control of.

  • avatar

    dai-jai is correct, Japan’s claims on various islands began around 1900.
    But China is claiming islands that are in dispute with Vietnam and Philippine.

    • 0 avatar

      Not gonna defend that. China is undoubtedly flexing it’s muscles in the region.

      • 0 avatar

        The ROC has a better claim on Diaoyu than the PRC.

        A bit amusing to see the Han Chinese overthrow their former Manchu overlords on the basis of them being “foreign barbarians” and then when the “shoe was on the other foot” – lay claim to all the territories that had been conquered by those Manchu barbarians (and previously by the Mongol barbarians).

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