BEIJING – China’s once-in-a-generation car slump is hobbling carmakers around the globe that placed their bets on what is the world’s biggest auto market. But one group is weathering the slowdown unscathed: Japanese automakers.
Iconic car companies like Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. are increasing sales in a market that has fallen almost every month since June 2018. They’re doing it by targeting what’s proven to be a sweet spot in the faltering market — demand for hybrid gasoline-electric cars. Japanese automakers are leaders in the technology, which appeals to Chinese consumers keen to heed the government push toward new-energy vehicles, but aren’t ready to shift to pure-electric autos just yet.