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Honda's China March car sales down 6.6% on year

Dow Jones Newswires - Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co. (7267.TO) said Tuesday that it sold 61,108 vehicles in China through its two joint ventures in March, down 6.6% from a year earlier.

Honda's joint venture with China's Dongfeng Motor Group Co. (0489.HK) sold 25,013 cars last month, down 16% from a year earlier, while sales at its joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (2238.HK) rose 1.3% to 36,095 units.

In the first quarter of this year, Honda reported a 5.2% fall in its China sales to 140,380 cars.

Japanese brands suffered a sharp fall in sales amid a flare-up in a long-running dispute between Japan and China last year. The Japanese government in August announced a move to nationalize the uninhabited islands of Senkaku in the East China Sea to prevent commercial development, which prompted a public outcry in China. Beijing also claims sovereignty over the islands, known in Chinese as Diaoyu.

Honda targeted 25% growth in China sales to 750,000 vehicles for this year. The No. 3 Japanese auto maker posted a 3.1% decline in China sales last year.

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