Yoshida in China: Rainstorm, restrictions on license plates affect automakers
8/8/2012 12:55 PM EDT
Weather and politics do matter in business.
The sales data released by Japanese automakers this week show that their auto sales in July in China declined. The Japanese companies are blaming it on last month’s unusually heavy rain in China; and new limits placed on the number of license plates issued in the city of Guangzhou -- the largest city in southern China.
Last month, the heavy downpour triggered flooding, mountain torrents, landslides and avalanches, affecting millions. Even Beijing -- usually relatively dry and not the focal point of the heavy rains that threaten China every summer -- was hit by its biggest storm in 61 years, killing more than 37 people, local reports say.
Of the six Japanese carmakers with operations in China, all except Honda reported sales volume declines from a year ago. Nissan, after double-digit gains for five straight months through June, saw a 2% slide in July. Similarly, Toyota also reported a 5% drop to 78,400 units, the first decline since January.
Honda's overall sales rose 1.3%, but sales of automobiles made by its joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. plunged 20.5%.
Hot summer days and heavy rain led to lower customer traffic. Sales of small commercial vehicles are reportedly off, affected by China’s economic slowdown.
But for the Japanese automakers who control large market shares in Guangzhou, the city’s new regulations hurt the most. Guangzhou decided to issue just 120,000 license plates for the year starting in July -- about half the number issued in all of 2011.
To combat traffic jams and reduce pollutions, cities like Shanghai and Beijing are also already starting to limit licenses. The Japanese automakers now say that they need to redouble efforts to tap demand in smaller cities and inland areas.
Who are winning in the media tablet mark in China?
Analysys International, a China-based market research firm, reported that 23.4 million tablet PCs were sold in China during the second quarter. On a year-on-year basis, that’s a 63.4 percent increase.
So who’s selling the most?
Apple and iPad win, hands down. The iPad series had a market share of 72.66% in Q2, according to Analysys International.
The behind-the-Apple gang includes: Lenovo (8.38%), Eben (3.63%), Samsung (3.59%), Acer (3.27%), Asustek(1.86%), Teclast (0.98%), Ramos (0.62%), Aigo (0.33%) and Motorola Mobility (0.26%).