LOS ANGELES -- American Honda Motor Co. saw sales slip 3.8 percent in August to 149,571 vehicles, but the automaker’s light trucks helped soften the decline, rising 5.6 percent to an August record at 76,133 units.
Sales for Honda Division were down 3.5 percent to 135,325 vehicles. Car sales dropped 11 percent on weak performances from two big sellers: the Accord, down 26 percent, and the redesigned Civic, which slowed to a 2.4 percent gain.
The subcompact Fit hatchback was the big gainer, jumping 85 percent to 5,370 units.
The Honda brand’s light trucks were up 6.1 percent to 66,795 vehicles thanks mostly to a 66 percent gain for the subcompact HR-V crossover and the reintroduction of the Ridgeline pickup, which notched 3,437 sales in August. The recently redesigned Pilot was down 9.1 percent while the Odyssey minivan, due to be replaced this winter, dropped 26 percent.
Honda’s current volume leader, the CR-V crossover, gained 5.0 percent to a record 36,517 units, Honda said, surpassing the Civic by more than 3,700 units.
August’s sales performance “demonstrates once again that the key to great sales is great product,” Jeff Conrad, general manager of Honda Division, said in a statement.
Next year will be a busy product year for Honda, with a redesigned Accord, Odyssey and CR-V all slated to debut.
The Acura luxury division continued its summer slide, dropping 7.0 percent to 14,246 vehicles sold. The refreshed MDX crossover, sporting the brand’s new-look grille, posted an 8.1 percent gain to 5,131, while all of Acura’s other crossovers and sedans were down, most by double-digit percentages.
While sales were tepid, American Honda remained conservative with incentives. The automaker’s incentive spending per unit was $1,751 according to TrueCar’s estimates. That’s down 17 percent from a year earlier and well below $3,331, TrueCar’s estimated industry average in August.