Toyota’s China sales dive over isle row

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday its sales in China nearly halved in October compared with the same month a year earlier, the second consecutive month it has suffered a steep fall.

Japan’s No. 1 automaker said its October sales in China plunged 44.1 percent to 45,600 vehicles. In September, its sales in the world’s largest auto market sank 48.9 percent to 44,100 units.

The drop appears directly related to the territorial row over the Senkaku Islands.

With inventories piling up, Toyota is expected to drastically cut production in China.

The automaker produced around 79,000 vehicles in October 2011 in China. Its monthly output there averages around 80,000 units.

The dwindling sales may torpedo Toyota’s earlier-announced plan to boost its sales in China to 1 million autos in 2012 from last year’s figure of around 900,000.

Honda touting N-ONE

Kyodo

Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will try to sell 10,000 units of the all-new N-ONE minivehicle every month in Japan as it looks to continue grabbing market share in this segment from the two long-standing top makers, Daihatsu Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp.

Honda said it will start selling the N-ONE, the third model of its N minivehicle series, on Friday for ¥1.15 million to ¥1.71 million.

The design of the new model, which gets 27 km per liter, was inspired by the N360, Honda’s first mass-produced minivehicle launched in 1967, it said.

The first and the second N series cars — the N BOX and N BOX Plus — have enjoyed robust domestic sales, selling a combined 165,000 since December, according to Honda.

Honda aims to sell a total of 358,000 minivehicles this business year to March, including around 300,000 of the three N series models, a senior official said at a news conference.

The market for minivehicles, with engines no larger than 660cc, has long been dominated by Daihatsu and Suzuki, but Honda is rapidly catching up.