Trucks lift American Honda; Civic sell down underway with redesign coming

U.S. sales of the Civic had dipped by 4 percent for the year at the end of August, but they jumped 27 percent to 28,278 units in September -- nearly enough to match sales of the red-hot CR-V. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

With a fresh-looking version of its iconic Civic due in showrooms this fall, American Honda Motor Co. hustled the outgoing compact car out the door in September, helping Honda to a 13 percent sales gain across its Honda and Acura brands.

The company also received a major boost last month from a 27 percent surge in light-truck volume.

Within the Honda division, sales increased 14 percent overall to 119,046 units, aided by a calendar with more selling days than usual and an expanded light-truck lineup.

Civic sales had dipped by 4 percent for the year at the end of August, but they jumped 27 percent to 28,278 units in September -- nearly enough to match sales of the red-hot CR-V. Honda is now gearing up for sales of the redesigned 2016 Civic, which boasts more power, better fuel economy and styling that ditches the utilitarian looks of the current car. Pricing will be announced Oct. 19.

With more customers moving into crossovers, CR-V sales increased 26 percent to 29,925 units in September, while sales of the family-hauling Pilot midsize crossover, which was redesigned this summer, increased 31 percent to 10,238 units.

“The success of our new truck introductions has given us great momentum heading into fall,” Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Honda division, said in a statement. “Now we see the freshened Accord and all-new Civic sedan propelling us into 2016.”

Acura division sales rose 6 percent to 14,704 units in September.

The luxury brand sold 4,753 units of the TLX in September, a heartening 18 percent increase in its second year on the market. It was Acura’s best-seller for the month.

Sales of the MDX crossover fell 15 percent to 4,313 units. This is the first time Acura’s sales charts have been topped by a car rather than a crossover since September 2011, when the now-discontinued TSX sedan narrowly outsold the MDX.

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com

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