Geely's Volvo sees challenging 2013 after 6 pct 2012 sales drop

STOCKHOLM Mon Jan 7, 2013 4:23am EST

STOCKHOLM Jan 7 (Reuters) - Swedish car maker Volvo, owned by Chinese group Geely, said on Monday its sales fell 6.1 percent last year, including a 10.9 percent decline in China and an 11.3 percent drop in Sweden, and expected a tough 2013.

Volvo is the biggest Chinese overseas investment in the auto industry and the Swedish company is pinning its growth hopes on China. Overall sales fell last year to 421,951 cars from 2011's 449,255, the group said in a statement.

"Competition in the car industry will most likely continue to be as fierce as in 2012 as manufacturers will seek to capture volumes and market shares in a market where the economic situation will remain unstable," it said, expecting a challenging year in terms of margins and growth. (Reporting by Patrick Lannin)