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China sales down for 3 Japanese automakers

REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File photo
A sign of Toyota at its stand during the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, or Auto China 2024, in Beijing, China, April 25, 2024.

BEIJING (Jiji Press) — Three major Japanese automakers respectively reported a decline in new vehicle sales in China in January-June, with their combined sales in the six-month period falling 12.9% from a year earlier.

The data shows that the situation of Japanese automakers, known for their strong position in gasoline vehicles, is deteriorating as electric vehicles become increasingly popular in China.

Toyota Motor Corp. new vehicle sales in China fell 10.8% from a year earlier to 785,000 units in the first half of 2024. Sales at Honda Motor Co. fell 21.5% to 416,000 units and sales at Nissan Motor Co. fell 5.4% to 339,000 units.

The three automakers saw their Chinese sales figures decline for the third year in a row in the first half of the year.

Japanese automakers used to have a large share of the Chinese market, but the situation changed dramatically as EVs became more popular in the country. In recent years, BYD Co. and other Chinese automakers that have taken the lead in EV development have rapidly expanded their market share, while Japanese automakers have struggled with a shrinking share.

Earlier this year, BYD made substantial price cuts on its flagship models in an effort to further expand its market position. It is believed that many of those who used to buy Japanese cars have switched to vehicles from Chinese companies, including BYD. An executive from a major Japanese automaker based in Beijing said: “The situation is only getting more difficult.”

Among Japanese automakers, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. announced last year that it would withdraw from vehicle production in China. Last month, Nissan closed a passenger car plant in Jiangsu Province, China. Toyota and Honda have also been forced to make large-scale workforce cuts and production adjustments in China since last year.

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