By Andrew Ganz
Monday, Nov 5th, 2012 @ 1:40 pm
 

A territorial dispute between Japan and China has significantly changed buying habits among Chinese consumers, much to the benefit of American automakers Ford and General Motors competing for shoppers in the world's largest new car market.

Both Detroit brands saw demand surge last month in China - Ford's sales were up 48 percent to 60,518 cars, while higher-volume GM broke a record with figures that were up 14 percent to over 250,000 units.

By contrast, Toyota and Honda both saw their sales tumble as Chinese buyers expressed their anger with Japan over a series of small islands at the center of a territorial spat. Consumer sentiment has been so anti-Japan that protests have been held in front of Japanese brand dealerships in China.

Just how long Ford and GM can keep their momentum going is difficult to discern, however.

A Shanghai-based analyst told Reuters that "the [territorial dispute's] influence on consumer mentality... could be long-lasting."

The analyst conceded that this anti-Japan sentiment is "very good news for the Germans and Americans."