By CCTV reporter Ai Yang
Sales of Japanese cars in China have suffered in recent months amid continued diplomatic tension. The industry bounced back SLIGHTLY in November.
But analysts say the recent election victory by the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, and its leader Shinzo Abe’s apparent tough line on China, could once again stoke anti-Japanese sentiment on the mainland.
Japanese car manufacturers have experienced an early winter this year. Car sales in the Chinese market have gone cold since July.
Jia Xinguang, Independent Auto Analyst, said, "The worst month was September when sales dropped 40 percent. The following months were not too good either. Some manufacturers expected to see a recovery within a quarter of a year. But that’s just too optimistic."
But there was a break in the clouds in November, as Japanese car sales enjoyed a 70 percent surge compared to October. It was the first time that customers’ attitudes thawed since the Diaoyu Islands confrontation kicked off. However, compared with the same month last year, sales still suffered a 36 percent loss.
Market outlook has become even more uncertain now as Japan’s incoming Shinzo Abe vowed to improve the country’s economy while taking a hard-line stance in territorial disputes with China, calling the Diaoyu Islands Japan’s “inherent territory.” Some worry it may further stir up anti-Japanes sentiment in China, and further complicate their relationship.
The concern has been already partically confirmed by a large scale internet survey carried out by the China economic information network and tencent, which came out earlier this month.
Findings showed of those who had considered buying Japanese cars, 80 percent now have decided not to, while more than half surveyed said they would not reconsider buying even if bilateral ties improve. Meanwhile nearly 90 percent surveyed said they support boycotting Japanese goods.
Jia Xinguang said, "Right now Sino-Japanese relations are delicate, and Abe hasn’t made clear his next concrete moves on the Diaoyu Islands. Last month’s sales improvement will not necessarily last long. If bilateral ties take a turn for the worse, Japanese car sales will really slump."