American Honda, aided by light trucks, ended a two-month sales skid by posting a modest 1.3 percent increase in May U.S. deliveries.
Echoing a pattern seen across the industry, American Honda Motor Co.’s car sales slipped 5.5 percent while its light-truck deliveries jumped 9.7 percent over May 2014.
At Honda Division, car sales fell 8.1 percent, including the Accord, which was down by double digits for the third straight month. Deliveries of Honda’s midsize sedan fell 18 percent from May 2014.
This erosion is due to a “number of different things,” Jeff Conrad, Honda Division senior vice president, told Automotive News. Not only are buyers choosing crossovers and SUVs over sedans more often, but Honda was awash in Accords last year and needed to sell them because it misjudged demand.
“We forecasted demand to be at a certain level, and we found that reaching those levels was more challenging than we thought it might be,” Conrad said of 2014.
A midlife refresh is due for the Accord later this year. Honda has adjusted Accord output to avoid oversupply and it is relying less on passenger cars as a sales pillar thanks to the new HR-V subcompact crossover and the upcoming Pilot crossover, Conrad said.
Honda’s compact Civic is aging better. It’s due for a complete redesign later this year as well, yet sales were down just 4.5 percent in May vs. last year.
Rebounding from last year’s production constraints was the subcompact Fit hatchback. It posted the biggest gain of any American Honda vehicle -- car or truck -- with an 82 percent gain from May 2014.
The Fit’s performance came despite Honda’s HR-V going on sale in May. The HR-V is based on the Fit and was expected to cannibalize at least some Fit sales.
The HR-V shot out of the gate on its May 15 on-sale date, with sales of 6,381 units in the second half of the month.
“The new Honda HR-V hit the ground running with an incredible sales performance in just a half month on the market,” Conrad said.
Despite having one foot out the door to make room for an all-new model in June, the aging Pilot was also a sales standout, with volume jumping 17 percent over last May.
Overall, Honda Division’s light-truck sales were up 11 percent in May.
Acura bucked the industry’s current trend of slow car sales by posting a 44 percent gain in car sales over May of last year. That was based solely on the popularity of Acura’s new TLX sedan; a robust 18,186 units were sold through May 2015. Light-truck sales for Acura were more modest, rising 4.5 percent for the month over May 2014. Sales of the compact RDX crossover, benefiting from a recent midlife refresh, reached a monthly record of 5,343 units.
“Together with the benchmark MDX and recently refreshed RDX, both topping 5,000 units in sales, we’re looking forward to a long, hot summer of Acura sales,” said Mike Accavitti, Acura Division’s senior vice president.