The president of Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Subaru cars, has said its vehicle sales in China will remain sluggish for some time in the wake of anti-Japan protests over a territorial dispute there.

“The situation (in China) is quite severe… I am sure (sales) will recover in the future but it’s going to be hard for the time being,” Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told a press conference as the automaker announced the launch in Japan of its redesigned Forester SUV.

Kyodo News said Fuji Heavy aims to sell around 195,500 units a year of the new Forester globally but Yoshinaga said the company does not expect the latest model to see strong sales in China for now, but added that growing demand in the United States will likely offset dwindling sales in China, the world’s biggest market.

Fuji Heavy saw a 71.7% plunge in its October new vehicle sales in China while demands virtually halved for other major Japanese automakers in the month.

The new Forester will reach the US in late November and other global markets later.