Car makers in Japan, such as Toyota and Honda, are setting more ambitious sale targets in China for 2013, after last year’s sales have been affected by geopolitical conflicts. In August 2012, Japan stated it planned to nationalize several islands in the East China Sea. The announcement led to immediate anti-Japanese protests in China and determined Chinese to buy less and less Japanese products, including vehicles.
However, Japanese auto sales in China showed a fast recovery, according to the international press. Toyota, the first auto maker by sales in Japan, said Monday that it sold 840,000 cars in China in 2012. It’s a 4.9 percent drop compared to the sales reported by the company in 2011, but Toyota set a higher sales target in China in 2013. The car maker plans to sell more than 900,000 vehicles this year, 7 percent more compared to last year.
“Sales are getting better day by day, but it’s still hard to say when we can get back to the pre-protest level,” Toyota China spokesman said.
Honda plans to grow sales with 25 percent in China in 2013, up to 750,000 vehicles. Last year, Honda’s car sales dropped 3.1 percent, but the officials are optimist: “We believe new models to be launched will boost sales significantly,” a Honda executive said.
Sales of cars from other countries rose in China. Ford Motor sold over 70,000 vehicles last month, up 43 percent, while its annual sales rose 21 percent to more than 625,000 cars.
Japanese auto makers have made efforts in order to restore sales in China. They offered discounts and programs such as free repair of cars damaged during anti-Japanese protests.