BEIJING Jan 7 Toyota Motor Corp.'s
sales in China fell 15.9 percent last month from a year earlier,
still dogged by a sales crisis Japanese carmakers are suffering
following a territorial row between the two countries.
Toyota and its two Chinese partners sold 90,800 vehicles in
December, compared with 108,000 cars in December 2011, it said
on Monday. In 2012, Toyota sold a total of 840,500 vehicles,
down 4.9 percent from 2011.
The company had said at the outset of last year it would try
to sell one million vehicles in China, but failed to meet the
target. It had originally set that target for 2010.
The pace of last month's decline eased more than the
Japanese company had expected, a senior company executive told
Reuters on Sunday, noting that sales had proved "surprisingly
Toyota's December sales fall followed declines of 22 percent
in November, 44 percent in October and almost 50 percent in
The executive attributed the recovery in part to discounts
and other sales incentives the company offered during the month,
as well as what he said was receding fear among Chinese
consumers over owning Japanese cars.
The executive declined to be identified because he was not
authorized to speak to media.
Some Chinese consumers have avoided Japanese cars since
violent anti-Japan protests last September after Japan
nationalised two East China Sea islands. China claims the
islands as its own territory.