Toyota, Nissan cut China output over island row

September 26, 2012
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Automakers were hit by shutdowns during sometimes-violent protests/XINHUA-File
TOKYO, Sep 26 – Japanese auto giants Toyota and Nissan said on Wednesday they would cut production in China because demand for Japanese cars has been hit by the bitter diplomatic row over disputed islands.

The announcements came as talks between the countries’ foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York ended without success.

“Our affiliates in China are adjusting production in consideration of demand,” a Toyota spokesman said. “There is an effect from the current situation between Japan and China on our sales.”

He was responding to a question about the impact of a festering row over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, controlled by Japan but claimed by China, which knows them as Diaoyu.

A Nissan spokesman said plants run by its joint venture in China will suspend operations for slightly longer than the country’s early-October holiday period.

He said Dongfeng passenger vehicle factories will halt production from September 27 to October 7 “in the view of the current market situation, and since China’s national holiday will occur soon”.

“Production will restart on October 8. After this we will remain flexible regarding the market situation,” he said.

Toyota said production at its Tianjin FAW and Guanzhou-based GAC plants will be stopped until September 29. The plants were already scheduled to close for the first week of October for the Chinese holiday.

Between them, the two plants represent the vast bulk of the manufacturer’s capacity in China, producing around 775,000 of the approximately 800,000 vehicles it makes.

The Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor’s (SFTM) plants in Chengdu and Changchun are scheduled to operate, the company said.

The UN meeting was the highest-level face-to-face between the two sides since the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands earlier this month, which infuriated China.

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