San Francisco, CA (PRBuzz.com) November 19, 2012 -- In October, American carmakers reported record-high monthly sales to China, benefiting from Chinese hard feelings towards Japan sparked by the flare-up of a long-running territorial dispute.
Since the late 19th century, China and Japan have clashed over a small group of rocky islands southwest of Okinawa in the East China Sea. China calls them the Diaoyu Islands, while Japan calls them the Senkaku Islands.
In September, protesters in China attacked Japanese auto dealers and some Japanese-brand cars. As the dispute continues, American car makers are enjoying record-level sales in China at the expense of their Japanese rivals. An official with a Chinese auto dealers association predicted the dispute between China and Japan over the islands would not stop Chinese customers from buying autos, but would "turn their focus from Japanese branded cars to other vehicles."
In October, General Motors Corporation and its joint ventures in China saw sales soar 14.3%. That outpaced the already healthy 11% growth, to $420 million, in GM sales to China and joint venture equity income during the first nine months of this year.
GM sold a record 251,812 vehicles in China during October, with its joint ventures accounting for 117,611 vehicles. The upsurge brought total China sales by GM and its partners to 2.33 million vehicles in the first 10 months of this year, a 10.5% year-to-year increase and an all-time record.
Ford's October sales to China also enjoyed a hefty 48% increase over last October, moving 60,518 vehicles. Ford and its Chinese partner announced October was their second straight month of record-high sales. For the first 10 months of 2012, total sales by Ford and its Chinese joint venture hit 221,000 vehicles, a 14% gain over the same period last year. Ford said its Focus model sold a record 33,614 units in China in October, another monthly record.
Toyota Motor Corp. reported its sales in China declined again in October, falling 44% from last October and delivering just 45,600 vehicles. The previous month, sales fell 48.9%. For the first 10 months of the year, sales of Toyota vehicles in China were off 15%, at 685,900 vehicles. Even so, the company said, its booming sales of the Prius hybrid in Japan and the United States would more than offset lost sales in China. Toyota also raised its estimate for 2012 full-year profits by more than 2.6%.
Toyota has announced it will pay for repairs not covered by insurance on its cars damaged during Chinese protests over the Diaoyu Islands dispute, and give owners who want to trade in damaged vehicles a $3,200 allowance. Honda similarly offered repairs and free loaner vehicles to owners of its cars damaged during the demonstrations.
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