Sales in China Fall for 3 Japan Automakers

REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo
A Toyota sign is pictured at its booth 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 new vehicle sales declines in China in January-June, with their combined sales in the six-month period falling 12.9% from a year earlier.

The data suggest that the plight of Japanese automakers, known for their strength in gasoline vehicles, is deepening amid the spread of electric vehicles in China.

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

The three automakers all saw their Chinese sales in the first half go down year on year for the third consecutive year.

Japanese automakers used to enjoy a large share of the Chinese market, but the situation changed drastically after EVs began to gain popularity in the country. In recent years, BYD Co. and other Chinese automakers that have taken the lead in EV development have been rapidly expanding their market share, while Japanese automakers have been suffering from a shrinking share there.

Earlier this year, BYD implemented substantial cuts in the prices of its mainstay models in an attempt to further expand its market presence. Many of those who used to buy Japanese cars are believed to have switched to vehicles made by Chinese firms including BYD. An executive of a major Japanese automaker stationed in Beijing said, “The situation is only getting tougher.”

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 personnel cuts and production adjustments in China since last year.