Ahead of redesign, Honda sells Pilot at furious pace

U.S. sales of the CR-V compact crossover surged 27 percent to 23,211 units, outselling the Civic and Accord sedans, which have historically been Honda's most popular models. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS
UPDATED: 2/4/15 6:21 pm ET -- corrected

Editor's note: This report has been corrected to say that the Acura TLX replaced the TSX.

Once upon a time, U.S. shoppers flocking from cars to trucks would have been bad news for the small-car specialist Honda. But not anymore.

American Honda Motor Co. delivered a strong 12 percent sales increase in January, with most of the growth coming from crossovers such as the Honda Pilot. Though the midsize crossover is at the end of its product cycle, its sales surged 98 percent to 12,315 units -- giving testimony to the red-hot nature of the truck market.

Honda plans to unveil the next-generation Pilot at next week’s Chicago Auto Show.

Sales of the CR-V compact crossover surged 27 percent to 23,211 units, outselling the Civic and Accord sedans, which have historically been Honda’s most popular models. The redesigned Fit hatchback also sold well, with sales up 86 percent to 5,802 units.

"The new year is off to a strong start with three core models selling at record pace, and this is only the beginning," Jeff Conrad, general manager for the Honda division, said in a statement. "With an all-new HR-V crossover coming in a few months, an all-new Pilot debuting at the Chicago Auto Show next week and more big news on the horizon, this is going to be an epic year for Honda."

The overall gains for American Honda were evenly split between Honda and Acura. Acura’s new TLX midsize sedan once again outsold the TL and TSX sedans it replaced, with 2,892 units sold in January.

In a statement, Mike Accavitti, the senior vice president and general manager of the Acura division, said the luxury brand will get further help this year from a mid-cycle refresh of its ILX sedan. Acura plans to position the ILX, which was outsold three-to-one by the TLX in January despite being the brand’s lowest priced model, to do battle with entry-level luxury cars such as the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA.

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com

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