Honda outsells Nissan, Toyota in September
Japan's top carmakers are enjoying strong growth in China, bucking concerns about a sales slowdown after the government raised the purchase tax on small cars this year.
For the first nine months, Honda delivered 1.03 million vehicles, up 18 percent. Toyota sales for the period rose 7.9 percent to 960,400 vehicles. For the year to date, Nissan sold 1.02 million vehicles, up 9.8 percent.
After a sluggish start to the year, China’s car market has shifted into a higher gear in recent months. In August, deliveries of light vehicles rose 3.3 percent, the industry’s fourth straight month of rising sales.
For the year, industry sales are expected to rise 5 percent, down from a double-digit increase in 2016.
Analysts said international carmakers were benefiting most from the uptick, even as some Chinese rivals had sales growth slow and a diplomatic spat between Beijing and Seoul hit South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors.
“After a good run in recent months, local Chinese brands are growing much slower now,” said Yale Zhang, chief of Shanghai consulting firm Automotive Foresight. “That’s why some good foreign [carmakers] are now seeing their sales grow by double digits.”
Honda has outstripped Toyota and Nissan in China so far this year, thanks to hot-selling models such as the redesigned Civic and its subcompact crossovers.
Toyota, Japan’s top automaker by volume, still expects to sell more than 1.21 million vehicles this year in China up from the 1.2 million in 2016.