Toyota China Sales Nearly Halved In October

BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday its sales in China nearly halved again in October, for the second consecutive month, compared with the same month a year earlier, amid a Sino-Japanese territorial row.

Toyota, Japan's No. 1 automaker, said its October sales in China plunged 44.1 percent to 45,600 units. In September, its sales in the world's largest auto market nosedived 48.9 percent to 44,100 units.

The drop in sales appears directly related to the two countries' row over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are known as Diaoyu in China.

The Japanese government's decision in mid-September to purchase the Senkaku Islands from a private owner set off violent anti-Japan street protests in many Chinese cities.

With inventories piling up, Toyota is expected to drastically cut production in China.

Toyota produced around 79,000 vehicles in October last year in China. Its monthly output there averages around 80,000 units.

The dwindling sales may torpedo Toyota's earlier-announced plan to boost its auto sales in China to 1 million units in 2012 from last year's figure of around 900,000.