Long road to recovery for Toyota's Chinese sales: report

TOKYO Fri Dec 7, 2012 8:19am EST

A worker cleans the logo of a Toyota car at dealership store in Taiyuan October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Jon Woo

A worker cleans the logo of a Toyota car at dealership store in Taiyuan October 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jon Woo

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TOKYO (Reuters) - A high-ranking Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) executive believes that it will take the automaker a year to recover from the effects of a diplomatic row between Japan and China, the Kyodo news agency reported on Friday.

Calls for boycotts of Japanese goods in response to a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea took a heavy toll of Toyota's sales in China, falling 50 percent in September and 44 percent in October.

The decline slowed in November, with a 22 percent year-on-year fall to 63,800 vehicles. However, Kyodo said that Hiroji Onishi, senior manager in charge of Toyota's Chinese operations, gave a grim outlook in a November 26 meeting with the company's labor union leaders.

"We have no choice but to believe it is going to be hard to regain the (pre-September) sales pace," Onishi was quoted as saying by Kyodo.

"Deducing from past incidents, it would likely take at least one year, and we are making all sorts of adjustments to our plans."

A Toyota spokesman declined to comment on Friday.

The company said at the start of this year that it aimed to sell 1 million cars a year in China.

(Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by David Goodman)

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