Japanese Car Makers Buck Downturn In Chinese Auto Market

The first eight months of the current year have been good for Japanese car companies operating in China despite the prolonged downturn in the Chinese auto market, with 14 straight months of contraction, as well as the broader Chinese economy.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, in August, the overall vehicle sale in China was at 1.96 million units which was a drop of 6.9 per cent from the same month a year ago. August was also the 14th straight month of drop in auto sales in China.

The total number of vehicle sales in the country in the first eight months of 2019 was 16.1 million which is 11 per cent lower than the same period a year ago.

However, between January to August, Japanese auto companies Nissan, Toyota and Honda reported good sale in the Chinese market bucking the overall trend of the market.

There was a 2 per cent year on year growth in the sale of Nissan’s cars in China in August, a second straight month of sale growth at 129,659 units. In August, the company sold 10,459 of its seventh-generation Altima sedan which marked a 12.5 per cent year-on-year growth for the segment. And the total sale of the company’s 14th-generation Sylphy model was at 11,467 for the month. A growth of 16.5 per cent year on year was registered by the company in terms of sale of its sport utility vehicles in China at in August at 45,216 units. On the overall, there was 0.2 per cent year on year growth in the sale of Nissan vehicles in China in the first eight months at 956,270 units.

In the same period, a 7.7 per cent year on year growth in sale was registered by Toyota as the company managed to deliver a total of 892,866 vehicles in China. According to sources, the Toyota New Global Architecture, or the TNGA, as well as its compelling product portfolio were the main drivers of the growth in sale of Toyota in the Chinese market. The Avalon hybrid, as well as hybrid versions of the Camry, Corolla and Levin sedans are the models of the company that are based on the TNGA.

Another Japanese car maker Honda reported a 5.9 per cent growth in sale in August from a year earlier at 124,155 vehicles. In the first eight months of the year, the company reported an increase of 18.4 per cent in sale of vehicles from the same period in 2018 at 985,514 vehicles. The Civic sedan and the CR-V crossover were the two most popular models of the company and it sold more than 20,000 units of each of the models in August. Sale of 13,274 in August was also reported for the hybrid variants of Honda’s CR-V, Accord, Inspire and Odessey combined.

“The sales growth of Japanese auto brands reflects that China’s automotive market is maturing and customers here are rational when buying a car,” said Yale Zhang, managing director of Shanghai-based consulting firm Automotive Foresight.

(Adapted from ChinaDaily.com)

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