Acura crossovers surge while Honda takes break

LOS ANGELES -- A 30 percent surge for Acura's crossovers helped cushion February's sales decline for American Honda Motor Co., whose overall sales dropped 7 percent to 100,405 units. Honda Division sales fell 8 percent to 88,860 units.

Sales of Honda's volume cars slumped in the chilly retail environment, with the Accord off 12 percent to 24,622 units, and the Civic off 5 percent to 21,575. Both vehicles were handily outsold by the Toyota Camry and Corolla.

The only Honda-badged volume product to show an increase was the Odyssey minivan, up 5 percent to 8,945 units.

In a statement, John Mendel, American Honda's executive vice president of sales, described February's sales environment as "the overall market catching its breath."

Acura benefited from the truism that crossover sales jump when the weather is poor. MDX sales soared 55 percent to 4,563 units, while the RDX posted its 22nd consecutive monthly sales record with sales up 4.2 percent to 2,911 units.

But Honda's corresponding offerings proved to be exceptions to that rule. The Honda Pilot crossover -- the MDX's volume sibling -- was off 28 percent, while sales of the Honda CR-V, which shares underpinnings with the RDX, were flat.

The rest of the Acura lineup appears to be in a dither, however, with all its volume sedans off at least 33 percent. And although up sharply on a percentage basis, the recently launched RLX is still selling in very low volumes.

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