Honda said it sold 56,880 autos in China in September, down 23.1 percent from a year earlier, with dealers clearing inventory ahead of the launch of two new models - the Vezel and the Spirior - in November and the XR-V afterwards.

September's drop was steeper than August's 2.5 percent year-on-year fall and July's 1.7 percent decline.

In the first nine months of this year through the end of September, Honda sold a total of 502,352 vehicles, up 1.0 percent from a year earlier.

Honda, which operates car ventures in China with Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd , aims to sell 900,000 cars in the country this year, up 18.9 percent from a year earlier.

Honda spokesman Zhu Linjie said the company was still on track in meeting its annual sales target.