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Honda closes gap with Toyota, Nissan in March
Reuters | 2017/4/14

Honda Motor Co.'s deliveries in China rose nearly 15 percent year on year to 111,127 vehicles in March, keeping the heat on its Japanese rivals and gaining share in a tepid market.

Last month, Toyota Motor Corp.'s sales increased 12 percent to 112,400 vehicles while Nissan Motor Co.'s deliveries rose 9 percent to 120,106.

In the first quarter, Nissan maintained a small lead over its rivals, with sales rising 5.3 percent to 314,347 vehicles. Honda's sales rose nearly 17 percent to 305,296 and Toyota's deliveries climbed 1.7 percent to 296,000. 

In March, all three companies gained share in a tepid market. In China, industry sales of light vehicles rose only 1.7 percent after the central government's decision to raise the purchase tax on small cars on Jan. 1.

The Japanese automakers may be profiting from the distress of their Korean competitors, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, Hyundai's China deliveries slumped 44 percent in March while sales of Kia, which has been in a dispute with dealers in China, plunged 68 percent.

Hyundai and Kia have not publicly disclosed their China sales. But the companies have acknowledged that they have been hurt by poor consumer sentiment.

China's central government has sharply criticized South Korea for allowing the U.S. to install an anti-missile system to deter a possible North Korean attack.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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