Honda's China Sales Fall After Strikes

SHANGHAI (AP) -- Honda Motor Co. says its sales in China fell 2.7 percent in June from a year earlier, the second straight month of declines amid labor strife and a slowing in overall demand.

Honda sold 50,113 vehicles in June in China, down from 51,497 in June 2009, while its sales for the first half of the year climbed 22 percent to 309,575, the company said in a statement released Monday.

After hitting record production levels in April, the company was hit by strikes at key suppliers that forced it to halt output at several of its factories in China. The conflicts with workers over pay caused critical delays to the company's "just-in-time" delivery system as factories ran short of key parts.

Worst hit was Honda's joint venture with Guangzhou Auto Group, whose sales dropped nearly 24 percent in June from the year before, to 26,166 vehicles. Guangqi Honda's sales for the first half of the year grew 11 percent.

Honda's venture with Dongfeng Motor Group was less affected by the strikes and claimed a 40 percent gain in sales for June and a similar increase for the first half of the year to 128,032 vehicles.

Rival Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp., which also has been affected by strikes at some of its suppliers is due to release China sales figures for June later this month.

China auto sales rose 19.4 percent from a year earlier to just over 1 million vehicles in June, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. Growth has fallen steadily since March, when sales grew by 63 percent.

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