Tipping the Sales Scales: Honda's Light Trucks Continue Filling the Hole Left by Cars
It’s nothing new in the industry, nor is it at all uncommon, but Honda’s distinctly balanced product mix continues to tip ever further towards the trucks and SUV side, despite the assertion of American Honda’s assistant VP of sales, Ray Mikiciuk, that cars will continue as the brand’s mainstay.
With the same number of selling days as August 2017, last month showed the automaker’s volume on the upswing, propelled by the strength of light truck sales. In keeping with the theme of balance, only one mainstream car saw its sales increase, year over year, while only one light truck model saw its sales decrease.
(We’ll have a breakdown of how all automakers and brands fared later today, once all the numbers roll in – Ed.)
Overall, American Honda’s sales rose 1.3 percent, year over year. Hardly a barnburner of a month for the automaker, but the folks at Acura are no doubt celebrating — the luxury brand saw sales rise 14.8 percent, year over year, while Honda itself was generally flat. This puts Acura close to crawling out of the red on a year-to-date basis.
Naturally, it owes it all to SUVs, of which Acura fields just two. MDX sales rose 38 percent in August, year over year, while the smaller RDX climbed 23.8 percent. Year to date, the MDX falls just slightly in the red (0.8 percent) compared to the RDX’s 9.6 percent gain. Elsewhere, the combined volume of the ILX, NSX, RLX, and TLX fell 22.8 percent, with only the low-volume RLX seeing a monthly gain (up 66.4 percent, to 138 units for August.)
In the Honda ranks, all cars except the Clarity hybrid/PHEV/EV, which had barely registered on sales charts in August of last year, took a dive. Civic sales fell 24.1 percent and Accord sales tumbled 11 percent, with the TYD volume for both cars down 7.5 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively. The Fit shed 47.5 percent of its buyers, year over year.
Interestingly, the recently launched Insight hybrid sedan sold better than even the best-selling Acura car, with 2,212 sales in August compared to the TLX’s 1,917 buyers.
As for crossovers and the brand’s lone pickup, good news reigned. Only the subcompact HR-V saw a year-over-year decrease in sales (2.4 percent), while the CR-V rose 11.8 percent, the Odyssey minivan climbed 13.5 percent, and the newly refreshed Pilot expanded its takers by a whopping 60.2 percent. Even the uniquely unibody Ridgeline pickup recorded its first year-over-year increase (7 percent) this calendar year.
Going back to the see-saw image, passenger car sales at both brands declined 15.3 percent last month, while light truck sales rose 18.9 percent. The performance of both vehicle types was nearly identical between brands.
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