LOS ANGELES -- Demand for light trucks helped American Honda kick off 2017 with a bang and record a 5.9 percent sales increase to a January record of 106,380 vehicles.
Sales at the Honda division were up 7.7 percent to 97,178. The brand’s gain was due entirely to light-truck sales, which rose 31 percent.
The automaker touted the news as vindication for its retail-centric approach, as other automakers, including the Detroit 3 and Toyota, posted declines for the month.
“Our conservative approach to growth was criticized when the industry was growing faster but it is clearly paying dividends now as industry sales are flattening,” Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Honda Division, said in a statement. “A steady cadence of products and disciplined sales tactics is the right approach for customers and dealers.”
Honda’s redesigned CR-V was the big winner, with a 53 percent gain to 29,287 sales, while the smaller HR-V jumped 36 percent to 5,689 sales. The larger Pilot crossover -- still facing capacity shortages nationwide -- dropped 16 percent to 7,180 sales.
Cars were a universal sore spot for the Honda brand, dropping 10 percent for the month. The Accord and Civic were down 5.9 percent and 14 percent, while the Fit was essentially flat.
Sales at the Acura division continued their slide, dropping 10 percent to 9,202 sales for the month. The declines were concentrated in cars, which dropped 24 percent.
The compact ILX sedan dropped 44 percent to 693 sales, the midsize TLX -- due for a refresh soon -- dropped 15 percent to 1,903 sales, and the woeful RLX midsize sedan slid 18 percent to just 80 sales.
The MDX crossover was down 8.4 percent to 3,274 sales while the smaller RDX crossover was the lone bright spot in Acura’s sales chart, rising 3.2 percent to 3,202 sales.