Sales of Japanese car brands in China are expected to take a dive with the worsening anti-Japan sentiment in the country. In the past few days, protesters who are anti-Japanese have gone to the streets. As a result, many of those who own Japanese-built cars no longer drive them. Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., and Honda Motor Co., as well as other Japanese carmakers, anticipate a crisis that may become even bigger than the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year.
Protests have erupted over taking control of the islands. China's Passenger Car Association expects Japanese automakers to get beaten by German nameplates in China for the first time since 2005. Cui Dongshu, the deputy secretary general of the Passenger Car Association, said that the effect on Japanese automakers is “very serious” and will persist for a long period.
He added that with the numerous choices available, most buyers would rather not bother with safety issues due to the anti-Japan sentiment. It’s likely that consumers would instead buy vehicles offered by market leaders General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG. This year, GM has reported sales of 1.84 million cars in China under brands like Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac.
On the other hand, two of Volkswagen’s two ventures have posted sales of 1.49 million vehicles in 2012. So far this year, Nissan has sold about 485,000 vehicles in China. Nissan, whose shares plunged the most yesterday in four months as protests became violent in several Chinese cities, led a recovery in shares of Japanese automakers in today’s Tokyo trading.