Honda on Track for Sales Decline in China, Adding to Recall Woes

Honda Motor Co.’s China sales fell in November, putting it on track for a second annual decline in three years in the world’s largest auto market, after demand shrank for its Accord sedan and CR-V sport utility vehicle.

Honda’s sales in China are down 1.4 percent in the first 11 months to 646,127 units, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Japan’s third-largest carmaker would need to sell almost double the number of vehicles than its monthly average this year to match last year’s deliveries.

The sales performance in China reinforces the automaker’s projection in October for its first profit decline in three years due to mounting recall costs and delays in new products. That led President Takanobu Ito and senior executives to take a three-month pay cut in November.

Honda cut its annual China sales target earlier this year by 100,000 units to 800,000. In Japan, repeated recalls of the automaker’s best-selling Fit compact car is setting back its goal of boosting sales by 21 percent this fiscal year.

In the U.S., four deaths have been linked to malfunctioning Takata air bags installed in Honda vehicles that ruptured and spewed metal. The automaker said last month that it failed to report to U.S. regulators more than 1,700 claims of injury or death involving its cars, including cases related to Takata’s air bags.

By comparison, Toyota Motor Corp. boosted sales in China by 12 percent to 907,400 in the first 11 months. Nissan Motor Co. reported a 12 percent decline in November sales.

— With assistance by Tian Ying, and Jie Ma

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