Toyota's US sales fell by 4% in October as the overall market increased by 13%. And in China, it posted a 6% decrease to 61,000 vehicles. This is certainly a cause for worry as it marks Toyota's first year-on-year drop in China since April 2009.
Toyota needs to sell a lot more vehicles to be able to catch up with the market leaders in China, namely: General Motors, Volkswagen and Hyundai.
Toyota’s challenges include the recall crisis and the political tensions between Beijing and Tokyo. China's total market sales in October have not been released yet but it seems unlikely to have dropped.
In China, passenger-car sales were up 41% to 8.53 million through September. Including October's results, Toyota's sales in China were still up 17% for the year. There are theories on why Toyota is lagging behind. The most obvious one is that Toyota is still affected by the recall crisis.
Since many customers in China are first-time buyers, it can’t rely on a long history of customer loyalty.
The second theory is that the recent rash of anti-Japanese nationalism in China is expected to affect a company that many perceive to be the archetypal Japanese corporate entity.
As a result of the dispute over the islets in the East China Sea, there are diplomatic tensions that have prompted calls to boycott Japanese goods in China. [via autonews - sub. required]