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Suzuki's China sales fall 14% amid compact-car competition

GUANGZHOU, China -- Suzuki Motor's Chinese new-car sales dived 14.4% from the year-earlier level in March as the automaker lost out to rivals peddling fresh compact cars.

     The Japanese automaker said Friday it sold 16,481 new cars in China during March. The midsize Alivio sedan and the Vitara sport utility vehicle moved briskly. But Suzuki had nothing new to offer China's competitive compact-car market, putting a large dent in overall sales.

     Suzuki's monthly sales in China have sustained double-digit declines on the year for more than a year straight, except for December 2015. First-quarter 2016 sales dropped by 23.9% to 48,728 vehicles.

     Meanwhile, new offerings from Chinese SUV makers sent Mitsubishi Motors' sales in this country plunging 21.5% to 6,288 units in March, the 12th straight month of year-over-year declines. The first-quarter total plummeted 31.8% to 19,229 vehicles, with no signs of growth in sight.

     But March sales in China surged for Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor and Mazda Motor, with Toyota's increasing 40.6%.

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