Japanese Automakers September 2013 US Sales: Honda Down 10% With Only Civic Posting Significant Gains; Nissan Down 5.5%; Toyota Down 4%

 @angeloyoung_a.young@ibtimes.com on October 01 2013 2:59 PM

American Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday it sold 105,563 vehicles in September, a 10 percent decrease from a year ago and a 37 percent drop from the previous month.

"Honda continues to sell well without having to rely on incentives or fleet,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for Edmunds.com, referring to bulk purchase sales by companies like auto rental agencies. “Honda's incentive spending was less than $1,000 in September - the lowest of any major automaker by a big margin.”

Having sold nearly 61,000 fewer units in August, it’s no surprise the month-over-month change has nearly all Honda models declining. One noteworthy exception was the Civic compact, which saw a nearly 7 percent year-over-year rise from to 22,983 cars. Also in positive-growth territory, albeit on small volume, was the Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, up 10 percent to 1,165.

Honda’s luxury Acura division declined 19 percent from the same month last year, but year-to-date figures show demand is strong for the Acura ILX entry-level luxury sedan and the RLX full-sized luxury car.

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., announced it sold 164,457 vehicles for a 4 percent increase from September 2012 despite the two fewer selling days that Honda and others have pointed to as reasons for the slower month.

Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, said in a statement that the fundamentals in the industry remain strong and interest rates are still enticing enough to attract new-car buyers.

Toyota cars declined 3 percent, with only the Corolla sedans gaining slightly amid the company’s large-volume sellers, at 1 percent to 23,251 units. Toyota SUVs fell 10 percent despite a 15.5 percent rise in sales of the popular RAV4 crossover. The Sienna family minivan and the Sequoia full-sized SUV were the only other two gainers in the company’s utility car division.

Toyota’s luxury Lexus division fell nearly 10 percent, with only the IS entry level luxury sedan and the full-sized LS car registering gains.

Nissan North America Inc. said September sales numbers were 86,868, down 5.5 percent from the same month last year.

Car sales for the Japanese automaker declined 8.8 percent while utility vehicles and trucks were flat compared with September 2012. Every model in the luxury Infiniti division declined, with total division retreat of 4.3 percent.  

“Nissan saw growth in sales of their fuel-efficient Versa and all-electric Leaf while the Sentra and Altima declined,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at automotive information and pricing provider Kelley Blue Book. “The Sentra and Altima reside in two of the most competitive segments in the industry. ... The fight for supremacy in the compact and mid-size sedan segments is far from decided, but Nissan will have to remain on top of their game to remain a viable competitor in these key segments.”

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