Toyota

The territorial dispute between China and Japan has already given business a jolt between the two nations, especially car sales.

On Thursday, three of the big Japanese carmakers released numbers showing how the spat has hurt production. The numbers are grim, but could have been grimmer. 

Japanese carmakers have had a rough time of it in China for the past two months, hit by plummeting sales due to the Sino-Japanese islands dispute.

But they have not shied away from the Chinese auto industry’s biggest event of the autumn, the 10th China International (Guangzhou) Automobile Exhibition, held in the stronghold of Japanese cars on the mainland, southern China. 

Japanese carmakers seem to be staring into the abyss in China, with buyers shunning Japanese cars since September, because of the Diaoyu islands dispute.

But AllianceBernstein analysts think this may be a passing phase. If they’re right, it could be an opportunity to buy Japanese car stocks, which are well down on the news from China.