NAGOYA, Dec. 7 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. expects it will take at least a year for its sagging vehicle sales in China to recover to the levels seen before anti-Japan protests erupted in the country in September over a territorial dispute and seriously dented demand for Japanese cars, people familiar with the matter said Friday.
While providing a bleak sales outlook, Toyota Senior Managing Officer Hiroji Onishi also told employees at a meeting on Nov. 26 that the automaker has started to review its new investment plans in China as anti-Japan sentiment there is expected to continue hurting its sales, they said.
Demand in China for vehicles of major Japanese automakers was virtually halved in September and October following massive demonstrations against Japan's purchase of some of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, with Toyota's new car sales in September dropping 48.9 percent from a year earlier.
Its sales in November were down 22.1 percent, signaling a slight recovery, but the automaker will likely miss its earlier-announced plan to boost auto sales in China to 1 million units in 2012 from around 900,000 last year.
In early September before the demonstrations, Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi announced Toyota's plan to double its sales in China to up to 1.8 million units.
Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. saw 29.8 percent and 29.2 percent sales drops in November, respectively.