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Japan automakers accelerate China sales despite tensions

Published on Jan 6, 2014 6:01 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - Two of Japan's top automakers on Monday reported record sales in China last year, after an anti-Japanese consumer boycott depressed demand in the world's largest vehicle market in 2012.

Toyota said it sold 917,500 vehicles in China last year, its best ever. The figure was up 9.2 per cent from 2012, when a dispute over islands in the East China Sea flared anew and sent relations between Tokyo and Beijing plummeting.

The diplomatic row sparked riots across China and a boycott of Japanese brands. A visit last month by Japan's premier to a controversial war shrine once again stirred up longstanding tensions.

The latest figures from Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, beat an earlier target of at least 900,000 units, and the company is now looking to sell more than 1.1 million vehicles in China this year.

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