Nissan Jan-Feb China sales likely down around 20 pct yr/yr - exec

GUANGZHOU, China Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:54am EST

GUANGZHOU, China Feb 26 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd's Jan-Feb sales in China may have fallen around 20 percent year-on-year, including negative sales growth for February, the company's China head Kimiyasu Nakamura said on Tuesday.

Nissan, the most exposed of Japan's leading carmakers to China, said earlier in the month its China sales rose 22.2 percent in January from a year earlier, an improvement from a fall of 24 percent in December, although the figures were impacted by the timing of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

Showrooms in the world's largest auto market are often closed for much of China's Lunar New Year holiday, a week-long break that fell in January in 2012 but came in February this year.

Sales of Japanese carmakers plunged almost 50 percent in October after an outbreak of tension over a chain of disputed islands led to violent protests and a boycott of Japanese-branded goods in China. (Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Jason Subler)

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