Violent protests across China over Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku islands may prove to be costlier than last year’s tsunami for the car industry, as Japanese brands may lose their lead on the Chinese market over German rivals for the first time since 2005.
The conclusion belongs to China’s Passenger Car Association and is quoted in a Bloomberg analysis, which is also quoting Chinese nationals saying they are afraid to take their Japanese cars on the way to work, for fear the vehicles may be vandalized.
“The repercussions for Japanese carmakers are very serious and will last for a long time,” said Cui Dongshu, deputy secretary general of the Passenger Car Association. “There are plenty of choices. Why bother with Japanese brands if there are concerns of safety due to anti-Japan sentiment?”
Top representatives at Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. said they were assessing the situation in China.
Wednesday morning brought a relative calm over the situation in China, with several Japanese companies deciding to reopen their businesses, according to Kyodo.