日本车企2012年在华销量下滑 Japanese car sales in China slip
Toyota and Nissan, Japan’s top two car companies by revenues, sold more than 100,000 fewer cars in China last year than in 2011, as territorial tensions between the countries escalated into a consumer backlash, writes Ben McLannahan in Tokyo.
The figures, published yesterday, mark the first time that either company has seen a fall in sales in China, the world’s largest car market, since they set up joint ventures with local partners in 2003. Toyota said its new car sales in China fell 4.9 per cent last year to 840,500 units, while Nissan posted a 5.3 per cent fall to 1.18m units.
Japan’s carmakers have increased discounts and spent more on advertising to lure back Chinese customers after protests broke out in cities in September, triggered by Tokyo’s decision to nationalise a chain of islands also claimed by Beijing.
Such promotional activities led to monthly sales in China gradually rising between October and December, following a drop of about 40 per cent across the industry in September from a year earlier.
However, the lingering anti-Japan sentiment is evident in the companies’ forecasts for 2013. Toyota is aiming to sell 900,000 cars in China this year – well down on its original 1m-plus target.
“In the short term, the carmakers don’t care much about profitability,” said Kochi Sugimoto, an analyst at BNP Paribas in Tokyo. “More important is that sales patterns go back to normal.”
法国巴黎银行(BNP Paribas)驻东京分析师杉本孝一(Kochi Sugimoto)表示：“短期内日本车企不会过于关注盈利能力。当务之急是使销量走势回归常态。”
Sales of other Japanese products have also dipped in China.
Shiseido, the cosmetics maker, and Tamasu, the sports equipment maker, say their outlook has dimmed. In a survey of 1,000 Chinese consumers published on Saturday by Kyodo News, two-thirds of respondents said they had refrained from buying Japanese products since diplomatic relations deteriorated.