Toyota, Honda, Nissan's slump in China will continue.
From Bloomberg News (4/23/2013):
No Tee Time for Japanese Shows Depth of Toyota China Slump: Cars
Honda Motor Co. employees in the Chinese city of Wuhan need only visit the popular Feng Bo Zhuang restaurant to see the resentment their company faces. A sign at the door says Japanese are barred from entering.
Discrimination against Japanese is common in China, according to Yasuhide Mizuno, the head of Honda’s venture in Wuhan, some 500 miles (800 kilometers) up the Yangtze River from Shanghai. Mizuno -- who has also been assigned to Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia and Australia -- says he’s never worked in a more hostile place.
“Wherever I go, like department stores or in taxis, people ask me whether I am Japanese,” Mizuno, 49, president of Dongfeng Honda (GHAJCZ), said in an interview at the Shanghai auto show. When he says yes, he said, the reception can be frosty.
Mizuno’s experiences in the city, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930s, illustrate why sales for Honda and Toyota Motor Corp (7203). have yet to recover since violent protests across China seven months ago. Though the riots -- triggered by a territorial dispute over uninhabited islands -- have subsided, Japanese carmakers are continuing to lose share in the world’s biggest auto market.
...First-quarter China deliveries for Honda, Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota (7203) fell even as overall Chinese car sales rose 17 percent. The share of Japanese brands dropped to 15 percent, versus a peak of 23 percent in 2011, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. LMC predicts the Japanese will see no growth in China this year, while the country’s auto market will expand 10 percent. Toyota doesn’t expect deliveries in the country to reach pre-protest levels before this autumn, China chief Hiroji Onishi said at the Shanghai show.
...For Honda’s Mizuno, the numbers are personal, though he says things are slowly improving. Japanese expatriates are still turned away from grocery stores, but not as often as before, he said. The Wuhan Tianwaitian Golf Country Club is always booked when he tries to reserve a tee time, he says, though it’s better than simply being told Japanese aren’t welcome on the course, as was the case a few months ago.
“I’ve never had that kind of experience in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou,” Mizuno said. “They don’t understand that what they do affects foreign impressions of the city.”
Wang Qian, a representative at Tianwaitian’s reservations hotline, said the club doesn’t discriminate, though she acknowledged it refused Japanese golfers in September and October. Currently, the club prioritizes bookings for members and Japanese executives don’t belong to the club, she said.
At Feng Bo Zhuang near Wuhan’s bustling shopping district, workers in the 150-seat restaurant make no secret of their prejudices.
“My boss thinks the Japanese are way wrong on the Diaoyu islands issues, so he decided to put up the sign,” said a manager dressed in a Kung Fu master’s outfit who identified himself only by his family name, Zhong. “It’s also our way of marketing, because Chinese people were all angry.”
Japanese automakers can’t pin all the blame on political disputes as their cars have a lackluster reputation, according to Zhu Bin, an analyst at LMC Automotive. Sales at Toyota had been falling in the two months preceding the protests, while Nissan was underperforming the broader market.
(Full article at the link)
"Lackluster reputation". Coming from Chinese is priceless.
Meanwhile 1,000 officers of Japan's Self Defense Force will have a joint drill in June in California with the US military to recapture an isolated island, according to Kyodo News.
When I tweeted the military drill news, one follower responded by saying "There is no way that the US will side with Japan. Only a token gesture, because they don't want to anger China." The same kind of people also accused the US for not helping Japan enough in March 2011.