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GM: China Auto Sales Hit September Record

Oct. 8, 2012
Automaker likely benefited from Japan-China territorial dispute

 General Motors' China sales hit a record in September, the U.S. auto giant said Monday, amid a territorial row between Beijing and Tokyo that has reportedly hit the business of Japanese competitors.

GM's sales in the world's biggest car market reached 244,266 vehicles in September, rising 1.7% from the same month last year and jumping 10.5% from August, it said in a statement.

For the first nine months of the year, the company and its ventures sold nearly 2.1 million vehicles in China, up 10% from a year earlier.

Analysts said General Motors (IW 500/4) likely benefited from the territorial row between Japan and China which saw tens of thousands of Chinese protest in cities across the country, some urging a boycott of Japanese products.

Territorial Dispute Impacting Sales

"The Sino-Japan dispute... has affected Chinese consumers' purchasing choices to some extent," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

"This has caused a negative impact for certain Japanese products, but in the meantime driven demand for other foreign car brands including those from the United States and Germany."

Sales of Toyota (IW 1000/8) cars in China plunged by 50% in September from August amid the anti-Japan backlash over disputed islands, Japan's Yomiuri newspaper said last week.

A festering row over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea -- controlled by Japan but claimed by China, which knows them as the Diaoyu islands -- has affected Japanese automakers operating in the country.

Reports Say Japanese Automakers Will Halve Production

Japan's top three carmakers -- Toyota, Honda and Nissan -- will halve production in China following a sales slump sparked by the backlash, the Nikkei business daily said Monday.

China's nationwide auto sales slowed last year from 2010 after the government rolled back purchasing incentives and some cities imposed limits on car numbers to ease traffic congestion and cut pollution.

The nation's auto sales rose just 2.5% to 18.51 million units in 2011, compared with an annual increase of more than 32% in 2010.

But some foreign brands have managed to buck the trend with better brand recognition and perceptions of better quality among domestic consumers.

GM sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in China last year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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