SEOUL – Sales in China of Japanese cars rose sharply over the three months through May as sales of Korean cars plummeted, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Sunday, citing the diplomatic row over installation of a U.S. anti-missile system in the country as a major cause.
It said sales in China of vehicles made by Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. in the March-May period totaled 175,576, down 60.8 percent from 447,420 in the same period a year earlier.
“At the same time, sales of Japanese cars made by such companies as Nissan, Toyota and Honda jumped 24 percent in the world’s largest automobile market,” Yonhap said, citing data provided by carmakers and the China Passenger Car Association.
Yonhap cited some market watchers as attributing the increased sales of Japanese vehicles to “new models and strengthened SUV lineups to attract customers.”
But Yonhap noted “the ongoing tensions surrounding Seoul’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on its soil soured two-way trade relations,” triggering a boycott of Korean-made goods in China.