South Korea’s automakers reported record sales in China last month while Japanese manufacturers posted declines after anti-Japan protests over disputed islands escalated in the world’s largest vehicle market.
Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea’s biggest automaker, and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp, sold a combined 127,827 vehicles, compared with the previous record of 116,763 units in September last year, Hyundai said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The Seoul-based companies expect to exceed their sales target of 1.25 million units for this year, it said.
A conflict over ownership of islands claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan led to demonstrations in some Chinese cities last month in which Japanese-branded cars were smashed and showrooms torched. Toyota Motor Corp, Japan’s largest producer, saw sales in China fall 50 percent last month from the previous month, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Friday, while Mazda Motor Corp said its deliveries in the nation dropped 35 percent from a year earlier.
“Anti-Japan sentiments in China began to affect car sales from September, and [South] Korean carmakers were one of the beneficiaries with other global companies,” said Eric Choi, a Seoul-based auto analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
Last month’s sales in China of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors were driven by the Langdong and K2 models respectively, according to the statement. The Langdong had sales of 15,243 units, compared with more than 10,000 in its debut in August while Kia sold a record 15,656 units of K2.
Hyundai’s venture in China, Beijing Hyundai Motor Co, was the nation’s fourth-largest passenger-car maker in August, with sales of 63,400 units, according to association data. The biggest was Volkswagen AG’s venture FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co, with 114,700 units.