U.S. sales at American Honda dipped slightly in March, ending the month with a 0.7 percent decline to 137,227 vehicles, as losses at Acura Division continued to pull down the automaker’s fortunes.
Yet strong demand for Honda Division’s light trucks has kept American Honda in positive sales territory for the first quarter of the year; sales are up 2.1 percent overall, to 365,293. While incentive spending has increased, it still falls well below the industry average.
Honda Division was up marginally again in March, with sales rising 1.8 percent to 125,531. Much of this was because of continued demand for its light trucks, which rose 13 percent during the month.
CR-V up, cars down
The CR-V compact crossover surged 23 percent to a March-best 32,872. The HR-V subcompact crossover also posted a record for the month, jumping 20 percent to 7,653.
Sales of the Honda Pilot midsize crossover fell 6.1 percent for the month and 12 percent in the first quarter, despite strong crossover demand throughout the industry. A lingering squeeze on Honda’s light-truck capacity continues to be a factor for the brand.
Honda’s car volume was down 7.1 percent in March as the hot-selling Civic finally cooled, sliding 4.1 percent to 31,520. The aging Accord -- due for a redesign this year -- dropped 12 percent in March to 26,824.
Overall, Honda Division finished the first quarter up 4.3 percent to 333,531.
Acura Division continues to struggle.
Sales in March dropped 21 percent to 11,696, with every sedan dropping by double-digit percentages.
The TLX midsize sedan -- a freshened version of which is to debut this week at the New York auto show -- fell 25 percent to 2,815. The ILX compact sedan slid 47 percent to 824, and the RLX midsize sedan dipped 15 percent to just 110.
Acura’s light trucks dropped 16 percent in March. The aging RDX compact crossover slid 29 percent to 3,769 while the MDX midsize crossover eked out a 1.3 percent gain to 4,141.
Overall, the first quarter of 2017 has been unkind to Acura as nearly every nameplate the brand sells has had a noteworthy decline except for the newly launched, limited-edition NSX. Sales for the near-luxury brand for the quarter dropped 16 percent to 31,762.