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By Kazunori Takada
DONGGUAN, China Nov 23 Nissan Motor Co
, the most exposed of Japan's leading carmakers to
China, expects its sales in the world's biggest autos market to
fall by around a quarter this month from last year, dented still
by anti-Japanese sentiment in a dispute over ownership of East
China Sea islets.
Nissan, expects to sell around 45,000 cars in China this
month, Hideki Kimata, senior general manager of the firm's local
car venture with Dongfeng Motor Group Co, told
reporters during a tour of a plant at Dongguan, near Guangzhou
in southeastern China.
Nissan's China sales - which make up around 27 percent of
its global total - slumped 35 percent in September and 41
percent in October.
"As the situation has stabilised, so have our sales," Kimata
said, referring to the violent anti-Japanese protests in
mid-September that were triggered by Japan's nationalisation of
two islets - known to Chinese as the Diaoyu and to Japanese as
the Senkaku. Kimata said sales in China's southeast had
recovered to previous levels, but were still slow in the north
"My personal view is that ... people (in the southeast) are
less impacted by the central government and are more pragmatic,"
he said, noting Nissan traditionally sold well in the southeast.
Nissan has had to revise down its full-year China sales
forecast from 1 million vehicles, and Kimata said the outlook
should become clearer after China's Lunar New Year holiday in
mid-February. He stressed Nissan's commitment to China, but said
there had been a shift in strategy following the protests.
"Rather than introducing new models, we're undertaking
policies that show our commitment to our customers, such as
offering compensation," he said.
All Japan's leading carmakers have compensated car owners
and dealers for damage and injuries incurred during the protests
- though this has been a low-key campaign as they don't want to
invite a flood of unrelated claims.
Nissan has repaired "several hundred" vehicles under the
policy, Kimata said, but declined to put a cost on this.
(Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and