* China Nov vehicle sales up 8.2 pct yr-on-yr
* Sales decline of Japanese cars eased in Nov vs Sept and Oct
* Overall Dec sales to pick up on year-end promotions
BEIJING, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Vehicle sales in China rose 8.2 percent in November from a year earlier, with the pace of growth picking up from the previous month as Japanese car makers showed signs of recovering following a huge slump.
Traffic to the showrooms is likely to pick up in December as automakers roll out aggressive year-end incentive schemes in a last-minute effort to achieve their annual sales targets.
“December has been one of the peak selling months for all automakers. Growth will be quite solid if consumers continue to trickle back to Toyota and Nissan’s showrooms like they did last month,” Sheng Ye, an analyst with industry consultancy Ipsos.
Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co, Honda Motor Co and Mazda Motor Corp all saw their sales improve in November after slumping in the previous two months as consumers shunned Japanese brands following a territorial row between Beijing and Tokyo.
Collectively, Japanese automakers sold 170,200 passenger cars in China last month, jumping 72.2 percent from October, but the figure was still down 36.1 percent from a year earlier, data from the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers (CAAM) showed on Monday.
Their market share came to 16.6 percent at the end of last month compared to 17 percent at the end of October and 19.4 percent at the end of 2011.
Industry-wide sales in China, including passenger cars and commercial vehicles, totalled 1.79 million in November, CAAM said.
Vehicle sales rose 5.3 percent in October from a year earlier.
Sales in the first 11 months came to 17.5 million, up 4 percent from a year earlier, with sales for the full year to top 19 million, according to Chen Shihua, director of information department of CAAM.
The main question for next year is whether auto sales are going to resume double-digit growth after subdued growth in the past two years.
Xu Changming, a government analyst with the State Information Center, is optimistic about a double-digit gain in 2013 as the economy recovers, while Bob Socia, head of General Motors Co’s China operations, expects a “5 to 8 percent” rise.
“We are pretty bullish on the market overall,” Socia said in a recent interview with Reuters. “SUVs are going to grow, luxuries are going to grow. We are looking at maybe 21 million next year.”
In November, some non-Japanese automakers profited from the struggles facing their Japanese counterparts.
Ford Motor’s China sales advanced 18 percent in November, while GM reported a 9.7 percent gain.
Great Wall Motor delivered 39.2 percent more of its Haval SUVs in the month from a year earlier, picking up some of the slack left by Honda’s once hot-selling CR-V.
Monthly sales of Dongfeng Motor Group Co, a partner for Nissan and Honda, however, fell 14.2 percent, although it was an improvement from the 25 percent decline in October.