Honda sales in China dropped 29 percent in November image

Honda Motor Company sold 41,205 vehicles in China in November, 29.2 percent less than in the same month last year.

The number includes both Honda’s sales and those of its Chinese joint ventures. However steep the decline may seem, it is an improvement from October, when Honda sales fell 54 percent. Sales are still well below last year’s level due to the ongoing impact of a diplomatic dispute between Japan and China over a group of islands that sparked anti-Japan protests in China.

In the first 11 months of this year, Honda sales were down 0.8 percent to 535,313 units, the carmaker said in a statement. Honda manufactures vehicles in China in partnership with Dongfeng Motor Group and Guangzhou Automobile Group. As Japan’s third-largest car company, Honda is estimating sales in China will not return to normal before February 2013. Analysts also forecast that the anti-Japanese sentiment’s effect on sales would last until the fourth quarter of the 2012 fiscal year.

Sales of Japanese cars in China fell 59.4 percent in October from a year earlier to 98,900 units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). It was the first time that single-month sales of Japanese cars in China have dropped below 100,000 units since 2009.