Automakers in China brace for year of tepid growth as Japanese struggle
Executives at local and foreign carmakers in China predict the overall vehicle market will grow 5 to 10 percent this year, roughly in line with 2012, when demand was hit by a slowing economy and rising fuel costs.
Japanese carmakers will likely continue to struggle in 2013 after they saw their China sales plunge by about half in 2012 after anti-Japanese protests and boycotts of Japanese goods broke out in mid-September over a territorial dispute between the two governments.
"Japanese brands have been handicapped by the turmoil in the relationship between Japan and China. It's very difficult for one company to see how much this is going to damage the long-term prospects of Japanese companies," Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan Motor Co, told reporters in a year-end briefing in Tokyo.
"What we know today is we are still down to last year. Obviously, the impact is reducing, (but) it's still significant...Will it go ever to zero? I don't know," he said, adding he forecasts the overall China market to grow at a similar pace to 2012. Half of a dozen senior industry executives in China expect the vehicle market grow at a single-digit pace this year, according to a recent poll conducted by an industry portal, gasgoo.com. The
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