Honda says Feb China car sales down 27.1 pct y/y

BEIJING, March 4 Mon Mar 4, 2013 1:18am EST

BEIJING, March 4 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd and its joint venture partners sold 32,024 cars in China in February, down 27.1 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese automaker said on Monday.

That compares with a rise of 22 percent in January from a year earlier, though figures were skewed because of the timing of the week-long lunar new year holiday.

Sales in the first two months of the year came to 79,272 cars, down 4.1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The Jan-Feb data shows the company's sales in China, which have been battered since last year in the wake of a territorial dispute between China and Japan over a group of small islands in the East China Sea, are recovering almost to pre-crisis levels.

China sales of Japanese car makers fell around 50 percent following violent anti-Japan protests in September after Japan nationalized two East China Sea islands. China claims the islands as its own territory.

Honda makes vehicles in China in partnership with Dongfeng Motor Group Co and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co . (Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; editing by Jonathan Standing)