China’s car market is likely to grow 5% in 2009 despite the global economic slump, a local Honda official has said.

”China’s total car sales this year will likely be about 9.4m, 6% shy of the 10m [industry] estimate made earlier,” Honda Motor senior managing director and China unit head Atsuyoshi Hyogo told Kyodo News .

”I believe China’s GDP growth next year will remain above 8% and its car market is looking to grow by 5%,” Hyogo said.

He noted that negative growth rates were posted in July and August this year and predicted that next year would remain tough for the industry but added that China should still outperform US and European car markets.

Honda’s unusual export-focused Guangzhou joint venture on Thursday celebrated the shipment of the 100,000th Jazz (Fit) to Europe.

Honda Motor president Takeo Fukui said the slump would continue for a while as the global car market is more chaotic than during the Gulf War over a decade ago.

”Consider the economy in the United States and its population back then. Car sales today remain the same. It shows how chaotic the market is,” Fukui told Kyodo News.