Honda narrows drop in China sales
Honda joined Toyota in narrowing its drop in China sales in November, showing that Japan's carmakers are recovering from the impact of the territorial dispute between the two nations.
Deliveries last month declined 29 per cent from a year earlier to 41,205 vehicles, Tomoko Takemori, a spokeswoman at Honda, said by phone today.
Sales in the first 11 months of 2012 fell 0.8 per cent to 535,313 units.
While sales fell for a third straight month, Honda follows bigger rival Toyota in reporting a smaller drop in the world's biggest car market.
However, Honda has said it may take until the Lunar New Year in February for sales to normalise.
Japanese carmakers will probably miss out on sales of about 200,000 units in the fourth quarter as the political stalemate persists, according to industry researcher IHS Automotive.
Honda's China sales plunged 41 per cent in September and by 53.5 per cent in October, according to the company.
The October decline was the worst monthly drop on record, based on available company figures dating back to 2007.
Toyota, Asia's largest car manufacturer, yesterday reported that November deliveries declined 22 per cent from a year earlier to 63,800 vehicles, compared with a 49 per cent drop in September, its biggest drop in a decade.
Sales in the first 11 months of 2012 fell 3.3 per cent to 749,600 units, it said.
Honda rose 0.9 per cent to close at 2,723 yen in Tokyo before the announcement, while the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.3 per cent.
The decades-long territorial dispute, involving a group of islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, was reignited in April, when then-Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, a longtime critic of China, proposed buying the territories.
That led prime minister Yoshihiko Noda's administration to purchase the islets in September, escalating tensions between the two nations and sparking violent protests across China.