China Auto Sales Gain 16% as Japan Automakers Extend Rebound
China’s passenger-vehicle sales rose 16 percent in November as Japanese automakers extended their recovery in the world’s largest auto market.
Wholesale deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport utility vehicles climbed to 1.7 million units last month, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said today. That compares with the median 1.69 million units estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Sales at Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Nissan Motor Co. (7201) and Honda Motor Co. (7267) surged for a third-straight month as Chinese consumers shrugged off renewed diplomatic tensions between Asia’s two-largest powers. That’s a contrast to last year, when automakers were among the hardest-hit companies as a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands sparked boycotts against Japanese products.
“The Japanese have been introducing more new models, especially lower-priced ones, which has made them very competitive,” said Harry Chen, a Shenzhen, China-based analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co. “That has helped their recovery momentum.”
Honda benefited from the recent introduction of its Crider and Jade sedans, while Toyota’s overhauled Vios has also been popular, Chen said.
The decades-long dispute was reignited last month after China created an air-defense area covering the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. At this time last year, Toyota to Nissan were bracing for an unprecedented slump in Chinese sales after the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands from their private owner triggered protests across China, with some demonstrators torching dealerships and vandalizing cars associated with Japan.
In 2013, Honda and Toyota are headed for record sales.
Industrywide, total sales of vehicles -- including buses and trucks -- reached 19.9 million units this year through November, putting China on course to be the first country to ever see 20 million units in annual vehicle sales.
China’s total vehicle sales should exceed 21 million units this year, according to Dong Yang, secretary general of the auto association.
General Motors Co. (GM), the largest foreign automaker in China last year, reported a 13 percent gain in November sales and the company has said it will deliver 3 million vehicles in China this year by the middle of this month.
By contrast, Indian passenger-vehicle sales fell 10 percent last month, the third-straight decline, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers today. The nation’s auto industry is unlikely to see a turnaround before next year’s national election, said Sugato Sen, deputy director general of the industry body.
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