Toyota’s China Sales Rise in Signal Anti-Japan Sentiment Easing

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker, reported a monthly sales increase in China for the first time since January as the carmaker ramped up production in the country.

Deliveries in the world’s biggest vehicle market climbed 0.4 percent to 79,000 units last month, from 78,700 a year earlier, the Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker said in a statement today. For the January-to-May period, sales were 8.6 percent short of last year’s level.

The gain in May deliveries follows Japanese carmakers’ production increase in China a month earlier, signaling a consumer backlash is fading following a territorial dispute between Asia’s two largest economies in 2012. Toyota last year reported its first sales decline since at least 2002 and pushed back a plan to make the country its third million-unit market.

Toyota’s output in China rose 8.7 percent to 72,955 units in April. Production at Nissan Motor Co. (7201), the largest Japanese carmaker in the market by volume, gained 7.1 percent, and Honda Motor Co. (7267) posted a 5.9 percent increase, according to figures from the companies last month.

Toyota doesn’t expect sales in the country to fully recover before autumn this year, Hiroji Onishi, its China chief, said in April. The maker of the Corolla and Camry sedans is targeting deliveries of 900,000 in the market this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Mukai in Tokyo at amukai1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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