Toy­ota, Nis­san log big­gest sales drop amid trade spat

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS - By Kwak Yeon-soo [email protected]­re­

Toy­ota, Honda and Nis­san suf­fered the big­gest monthly sales drops in Septem­ber due to a con­sumer boy­cott of Ja­panese prod­ucts, data showed Fri­day.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Korea Au­to­mo­bile Im­porters &Dis­trib­u­tors As­so­ci­a­tion (KAIDA), Toy­ota ve­hi­cle sales plunged 61.9 per­cent to 374 in Septem­ber from 981 in the same pe­riod last year.

Sales of Honda plum­meted 82.2 per­cent to 166 from 934 and Nis­san sales dropped 87.2 per­cent to 46 from 360.

Sales of Lexus, Toy­ota’s in­de­pen­dent lux­ury brand, were down 22 per­cent to 469 from the pre­vi­ous month, al­though that was still up 49.8 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

Sales of In­finiti, Nis­san’s in­de­pen­dent lux­ury brand, were down 69.2 per­cent to 48, data showed.

Sales of Ja­panese ve­hi­cles moved in the op­po­site di­rec­tion of the over­all sales of im­ported ve­hi­cles, which rose 17 per­cent in Septem­ber buoyed by in­creased sup­ply of new mod­els.

Ger­man car­maker Mercedes-Benz topped the sales of im­ported ve­hi­cles, sell­ing 7,707 last month. It was then fol­lowed by BMW at 4,249 and Audi at 1,996.

The num­ber of newly reg­is­tered im­ported ve­hi­cles stood at 20,204 in Septem­ber, up from 17,222 a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to KAIDA.

By con­trast, the num­ber of newly reg­is­tered Ja­panese ve­hi­cles stood at 1,103 in Septem­ber, a 59.8 per­cent drop from the same pe­riod last year. Com­pared with Au­gust, the num­ber plunged 21 per­cent.

“Sales of Ja­panese cars will likely re­main in the dol­drums in the near fu­ture, as the wors­ened trade spat be­tween Tokyo and Seoul con­tin­ues to weigh on con­sumer sen­ti­ment,” said a big data an­a­lyst at Zig­car, a mar­ket plat­form for car ex­change deal­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers and con­sumers.

KAIDA also stated that the key rea­son for the slump was lower de­mand for Ja­panese ve­hi­cles.

Ja­panese car­mak­ers worry that the boy­cott will con­tinue for the rest of this year, with po­lit­i­cal ten­sion be­tween the coun­tries show­ing no sign of abat­ing.

This came after Ja­pan de­cided to re­strict ex­ports to Korea of a few high-tech ma­te­ri­als used in semi­con­duc­tors and dis­plays in July. In Au­gust, Tokyo re­moved Seoul from its whitelist of pre­ferred trade part­ners.

The ac­tions are widely seen here as re­tal­i­a­tion for a South Korean Supreme Court rul­ing or­der­ing Ja­panese firms to com­pen­sate sur­viv­ing South Korean vic­tims of wartime forced la­bor dur­ing the 1910-45 Ja­panese oc­cu­pa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula.

Nis­san said al­though it sees no re­lief in sight, the com­pany will con­tinue its ac­tiv­i­ties here.

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