After testing times in recent years, the major Japanese OEMs will be encouraged by double-digit sales growth rates in China this year. They are well placed to benefit from tax cuts applying to smaller vehicles that will last till the end of 2016.
Nissan new vehicle sales for November jumped 22% on the year to 122,700 units. Toyota was up 13% in the month, Mazda by 10% and there was a 32% gain for Honda.
China's tax cut on vehicles with an engine displacement of 1.6 litres or less has provided a boost, but confidence has also returned after the sharp stock market reversals of the summer.
The sales tax cut, from 10% to 5%, affects vehicles with engines of 1.6-litres and less, which account for around 70% of the total passenger vehicle market. The move by the central government was part of a range of stimulus measures introduced this year to help lift domestic consumption as China's economy continues its transition from investment-led growth.
Sales of Nissan's mainstay sedan Sylphy, which qualifies for the tax cut, soared 59.3% to 38,491 units in November. Nissan's passenger vehicle sales were up 30% in November, and the full-year total is expected to exceed 1m for the first time.
The Toyota Corolla and Honda's Vezel and XR-V SUVs all qualify for the tax benefit and drove last month's sales recovery for the two brands.