Sat, Oct 06, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Toyota sales plunge in China amid islands row

AFP, TOKYO

Sales of Toyota cars in China plunged by 50 percent month-on-month last month amid an anti-Japan backlash over disputed islands, a report said yesterday.

The Japanese auto giant — the world’s largest car firm by sales in the first half of this year — shifted 75,000 units in August, but moved only half that number last month, the Yomiuri newspaper said, citing a company source.

A Toyota spokesman in Tokyo would not confirm the numbers, saying only that official figures for last month’s sales in China would be released on Tuesday.

A festering row over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, controlled by Japan but claimed by both Taiwan and China, who refer to them as the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), has badly affected trade between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Toyota shuttered its factories in China from Sept. 26 over the heightened tensions, leaving them closed for China’s national week celebrations, but is set to reopen them on Monday, the Tokyo spokesman said.

Late last month both Toyota and its Japanese rival Nissan said they would cut Chinese production because demand for Japanese cars had been hit by the row.

Yesterday, Jiji news and the Nikkei Business Daily said Toyota’s production in China this month could be slashed by about 50 percent from planned levels.

Toyota has nine production sites in China — three assembly plants each in Tianjin in the northeast, the southern city of Guangzhou and central Sichuan province.

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