U.S. Markets closed

Honda CEO: Sees slight sales decline in China amid economy, market jitters

* Still sees fiscal year sales higher than last year

* Younger buyers still a source of growth - CEO (Recasts lede, adds CEO comment)

By Minami Funakoshi

TOKYO, July 9 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co's chief executive said the Japanese automaker has seen a dip in China sales compared to last year amid jitters about the country's economy and financial markets, but still expects growth over the full fiscal year.

"Recently stocks in Shanghai have basically plummeted...(Honda's) sales also seem to be declining slightly," newly appointed CEO Takahiro Hachigo told reporters on Thursday.

But Hachigo, recently named to the top job at the auto maker having previously headed the automaker's Chinese subsidiary, expressed confidence younger buyers - still a source of growth in the world's biggest auto market - will help boost sales over the fiscal year through March 2016 compared with the previous 12 months.

"I think this year's car sales (in China) will top last year's," said Hachigo, adding the Chinese auto market, the world's biggest, still has potential to grow much more.

As fears for the health of the world's second-biggest economy have grown, Chinese stocks have tumbled as much as 30 percent since mid-June, also dragging Japanese share prices to three-month lows on Thursday.

On Thursday Honda also expanded a recall to replace potentially deadly airbag inflators made and supplied by Takata Corp, calling back 1.63 million more cars in Japan. Honda will continue to investigate the issue with Takata and work as a business partner with the supplier, though it has no plans to provide financial aid, Hachigo said.

(Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)