Other international automakers have stepped into this vacuum. In addition to Ford(F)'s gains, Audi's September sales in China rose 21% and BMW Group's rose 59%.
Sales for affiliated South Korean brands Hyundai and Kia rose 9.5%, according to research firm Business Monitor International. A Hyundai spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
General Motors(GM) lagged behind the others, with China sales rising just 1.7% year-on-year, though they were up 10.5% versus August.
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"With the negative fallout from the China-Japan territorial dispute showing little sign of dissipating, we expect to see an intensification of the trend of Japanese automakers losing market share to other brands in the Chinese auto market," Business Monitor said in a research note this week.
China is Japan's largest trading partner. Nearly 20% of Japanese exports last year were sold to mainland China, compared to 15.3% exported to the U.S., according to the Japan External Trade Organization.
CNNMoney's Charles Riley in Hong Kongcontributed to this report.