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Japanese car sales plunge in September amid anti-Japan protests

BEIJING – Japanese automotive brands saw sales plunge in China in September as anti-Japan protests intensified during the month caused by rival claims on a group of disputed islands between the two countries.

Toyota said its China sales in September dropped 48.9 percent year-on-year to only 44,100 units, while Honda, Nissan and Suzuki saw respective sales declines of 40.5, 35.3 and 42.5 percent by selling only 33,931, 76,100 and 16,000 units in the country.

Mazda sold 13,258 units in the month, down 35 percent on a yearly basis, and its combined sales in the first nine months were 148,116 units, down 6 percent. Sales at its Chinese joint venture FAW-Mazda fell 13 percent to 87,325 units in the period, while those of Chang’an-Ford-Mazda were 60,791 units, up 7 percent.

In addition, Mitsubishi and Fuji Heavy Industries sold 2,340 and 1,857 vehicles in China in September, down 62.9 and 64.5 percent respectively, the companies announced.

To rejuvenate sales, Toyota has just announced that it would offer maximum subsidies of ¥20,000 ($3,180) for customers who trade-in a used vehicle toward the purchase of a new one.

IHS Automotive estimates that Japanese automakers in China had lost 14,000 units in production by September 20 due to production stoppages, which equates to losses of nearly $250 million.

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