Japanese companies operating in China have traditionally been disliked when compared with companies from Europe, the US and the rest of Asia. This couldn’t be more evident than in the Chinese auto industry, where until now Volkswagen and General Motors have been the most popular foreign makes.

Studies have found that close to 70 percent of Chinese people express an unfavourable view towards Japan, largely due to military conflicts between the two nations in the past. Considering the cultural divide that Toyota is facing in China, we’re quite impressed by the carmaker’s latest performance and it just goes to show how formidable Toyota really is. The company has since doubled its sales in China for the first nine months of this year compared with last year and is outpacing its rivals, including VW and Ford, thanks to the introduction of new models.

Toyota has managed to move 203,000 vehicles this year, outperforming even Ford’s amazing 105.5 percent growth rate. The increase in sales Toyota is enjoying is mainly due in part to the introduction of its Chinese-built Camry sedan, and if growth continues at this rate, Toyota could be number one in China by as early as 2008. Currently GM is at the top spot with 453,832 vehicles sold in the first half of 2006. The car pictured above is the new model Camry that’s sold in parts of Asia and will be called Aurion in other markets.