Nissan says March China auto sales down 16.6 pct yr/yr

BEIJING, April 2 Tue Apr 2, 2013 2:36am EDT

BEIJING, April 2 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd and its Chinese joint venture sold 110,000 cars in China in March, down 16.6 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese automaker said on Tuesday.

That compares with a 46 percent plunge in February, though those figures take account of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

Sales in the first three months of the year came to 284,000 vehicles, down 15.1 percent from the same period a year earlier, the company said.

Japanese carmakers' sales in China plunged late last year after violent anti-Japan protests broke out in September in response to a territorial dispute between the countries.

Nissan makes vehicles in China in partnership with Dongfeng Automobile Group Co Ltd. (Reporting by Fang Yan and Nick Edwards; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)