Friday, October 05 07:39:07
Toyota Motor Corp's sales in China halved last month from August levels, damaged by anti-Japanese sentiment in a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the Yomiuri newspaper reported today, citing the automaker. Showroom traffic and sales have plunged at Japanese automakers since violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products broke out across China in mid-September over Japan's acquisition of a group of disputed islands. A prolonged sales hit of this scale could threaten profit forecasts at Toyota, Nissan Motor Co and others as China, the world's biggest car market, makes up a bigger portion of their global sales. Toyota sold about 75,300 cars in China in August.
As demand evaporates, Toyota, Nissan, Honda Motor Co and others have been forced to cut back production in recent weeks in a slowing, but still promising Chinese market. A source told Reuters late last month that Toyota's production cutbacks could extend through November, a move that would almost certainly put the company's goal of selling 1 million cars in China this year out of reach.
A Toyota spokeswoman in Tokyo declined to confirm the newspaper report, saying the company would announce its Chinese sales for September on Tuesday. On Thursday, Mazda Motor Corp said its China sales tumbled by more than a third last month from a year earlier, providing the first concrete numbers to point to Japanese automakers' troubles in China. ( C) Reuters