Honda is finally back in the black -- barely.
Helped by strong demand for the Honda Accord and Acura TLX sedans, American Honda Motor Co. posted a 12 percent sales increase in September to 118,223 units, the company said today.
That topped the industry’s 9 percent rise, and was enough to put Honda back ahead of its 2013 pace, even if by a mere 1,593 units, through September.
Through August, the automaker’s 2014 sales had been off 1 percent, in contrast to an industrywide 5 percent gain.
“With the redesigned 2015 Honda CR-V going on sale today, we expect our momentum to continue to grow,” Jeff Conrad, the Honda division’s general manager, said in a statement.
Strong Acura month
Sales for the Honda division rose 11 percent in September, putting the brand up 0.3 percent, or 2,673 units, for the first nine months of the year. Acura sales, stagnant for most of 2014, spiked by 19 percent in September, but despite that surge the brand was down 1 percent for the year to date.
The largest contributors to Honda’s gain were the Accord and the Fit subcompact. For the second straight month, the midsize Accord outsold the Toyota Camry, with 32,956, up 31 percent, vs. the Camry’s 28,507, down 11 percent.
Fit sales rose 67 percent to a record for September of 6,628, after Honda started production of the redesigned 2015 Fit this summer at a new assembly plant in Celaya, Mexico.
Acura benefited from the launch of the TLX midsize sedan to replace the discontinued TL. Aided by a brash marketing campaign using the tagline “It’s that kind of thrill,” Acura sold 3,884 units of the TLX in September, its first full month on the market, more than triple the 1,102 TLs that Acura sold last September.
That put the TLX ahead of midsize sport sedans such as the Cadillac ATS, Audi A4 and Infiniti Q50, though well behind the segment leader: the BMW 3 series. BMW sold a combined 12,814 units of the 3-series sedan and 4-series coupe in September.
So far, the TLX appears to be “the knockout punch we’ve been looking for in the luxury sedan arena,” said Mike Accavitti, Acura division general manager.
He added that the sport sedan is still in short supply: “The TLX is attracting so much attention online and showroom traffic at our dealers that we don’t yet know the car’s true potential.”
Sales of the Acura ILX rose 7 percent, but Acura’s other cars posted double-digit sales drops.