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News Summary: Japan cars suddenly lemons in China

ISLANDS AND AUTOMOBILES: Sales of Japanese vehicles nosedived in China during September as anti-Japanese sentiment flared after the country nationalized a pair of tiny, uninhabited islands. The islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, were already under Tokyo's control but are also claimed by Beijing.

BAD ROAD TRIP: Toyota Motor Corp. said that sales of new vehicles in China dropped 48.9 percent in September from a year earlier. Honda Motor Co. said sales plunged 40.5 percent. China sales for Nissan Motor Co. slid 35.3 percent last month. Last week, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. reported that China sales dived 63 percent.

ONCOMING TRAIN: Including less travel to and from China and falling sales in other sectors, the aftermath of the territorial spat with China will shave 0.8 percentage point off Japan gross domestic product growth for the fourth quarter, sending Japan's overall economy slightly downward, instead of the initial forecast for flat growth, according to J.P. Morgan. China, with its growing middle class, had been one of the emerging markets that Japanese automakers were counting on to boost sales amid a long stagnation in the domestic auto market.

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