The Honda brand posted a 2 percent U.S. sales increase in August, only its third rise of the year and slightly topping its 1 percent downturn in year-to-date sales. But the credit belongs mainly to one standout: the Accord.
Honda sold 51,075 Accord sedans and coupes in August -- a monthly record and a 33 percent increase over August 2013 -- in a year when the nameplate is up just 6 percent overall.
It was enough to make the Accord the best-selling nameplate in the United States in August, ahead of the Toyota Camry, which is getting an extreme makeover for the 2015 model year to defend its sales title.
Toyota sold 44,043 Camrys in August, a 2 percent decline. For the year, Camry sales total 306,471, easily topping the Accord with deliveries of 271,426.
But the monthly Accord-Camry clash was an outright victory for Honda, which has long coveted Toyota’s crown. Though the Camry has led in overall sales for 12 straight years, Honda repeated a frequent claim in August that the Accord is America’s most popular car on the basis of sales to retail buyers -- who Honda said accounted for 98.2 percent of Accords sold.
“While competitors rely on deep discounts and sales to corporate and rental fleets, Honda continues to achieve steady and sustainable growth based on the quality and value of our products in the hands of individual customers,” Jeff Conrad, Honda division general manager, said in a statement.
Overall, American Honda’s U.S. sales were flat in August and are down 1 percent year to date.
Without the added volume from the Accord, sales for the Honda and Acura divisions would have fallen a combined 7 percent in August, weighed down by a 14 percent decline in sales of the Civic compact car and a 27 percent drop in deliveries of the Pilot three-row crossover.
Sales at the Acura luxury division also remained in a funk, falling 9 percent in August despite the launch of the TLX midsize sport sedan to replace the discontinued TL.
Acura sold 2,286 TLXs in its first month on sale, which was enough to best the smaller ILX and make the TLX the brand’s best-selling car. But it just barely topped the 2,227 units of the outgoing TL that Acura sold last August.
Sales of the MDX midsize crossover, by far Acura’s most popular model, were essentially unchanged from last August with 6,497 sold. Sales of the RDX compact crossover fell 9 percent to 3,984.
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