Hyundai and Kia were the unintentional beneficiaries in September sales of the a long-running dispute between China and Japan over the territorial claims over the Diayou/Senkaku islands, Bloomberg is reporting. The private sale giving Japan de-facto control of the islands, which has claimed administrative control over the islands since the end of World War II, resulted in protests in China in which Japanese-branded cars were vandalized and dealerships were set on fire.
Official sales figures will be announced on October 10, but preliminary figures show a combined gain for Hyundai/Kia of more than 10,000 units for September. Hyundai's best-selling model in China is the Verna sedan, similar to the U.S. market Accent, and the Langdong, similar to the Elantra.
Toyota reportedly saw sales drop by 50 percent for the month, with Mazda sales falling 35 percent. Nissan, which has the highest market share of any Japanese brand in China, has not yet reported September sales.
The largest passenger car maker in China is FAW-Volkswagen, selling 114,700 units in August. All foreign automakers that wish to manufacture in the country are required by law to partner with a local affiliate.
Last month, Japanese manufacturers with a presence in China advised employees, especially those from Japan to keep a low profile, and not to speak in public to ensure their public safety.