DALLAS -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s May sales fell 0.5 percent from the year-earlier month, as a drop at Lexus due to weak sedan sales erased a fractional gain at the Toyota division on the strength of light trucks.
Total sales last month were 218,248 vehicles, the company said in a statement, noting that there was one additional selling day compared with May 2016. Toyota's overall daily selling rate was down 4.5 percent in May, with both divisions losing ground by that measurement.
The Toyota division, including Scion, posted a 0.1 percent gain to 192,847 vehicles. But sales at Lexus slid 4.8 percent to 25,401.
"Although down from last year, the auto industry is still enjoying a solid year in 2017, with light trucks continuing to shine," said Jack Hollis, general manager of the Toyota division. "We continue to see the SUV segment leading the way, with a best-ever May for RAV4, Highlander and overall light truck for the Toyota division."
Hollis said the newly introduced C-HR subcompact crossover, which went on sale in limited numbers in April, is drawing the younger demographic that Toyota wants as an entry point into the brand. Sales of the C-HR in May, its first full month, hit 1,848 as dealers start to build inventory. Toyota hopes to sell about 30,000 of the small crossovers this year.
Sales of the RAV4 compact crossover jumped 19 percent to 38,356, making it the automaker's best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in May.
The Highlander large crossover posted a sales gain of 23 percent. Sales rose 6.7 percent for the Tacoma midsize pickup and 9.6 percent for the full-size Tundra.
On the car side, sales of the Camry midsize sedan fell 12 percent to 32,547 as Toyota prepares to launch a new generation this summer. Toyota expects the RAV4 will outsell the Camry for the first time this year.
Sales of the compact Corolla in its sedan and hatchback versions combined fell 10 percent while Prius hybrid sales dropped 20 percent.
At Lexus, the company began selling the LC 500 halo coupe and its hybrid version. The good news otherwise was all on the light-truck side.
"As we press further into 2017, luxury utility vehicles continue to lead Lexus sales, with a best-ever May for the NX" and the brand's entire luxury-utility lineup, said Jeff Bracken, Lexus general manager. "Sales of the LC 500 and LC 500h kicked off in May to a great start, exceeding our expectations."
Sales of the NX compact crossover rose 24 percent, and sales of the top-selling RX midsize crossover edged up 0.5 percent.
But sales of Lexus cars all dropped by double digits, except for a 3.5 percent gain by the entry-level CT hybrid. The ES fell 21 percent, the IS 18 percent, the RC coupe 37 percent and the GS 45 percent. Sales of the flagship LS sedan, which is being replaced later this year, tumbled 56 percent. The all-new LC coupe sold 419 units in its first month.
Incentive spending at Toyota, as tracked by ALG, rose 6.8 percent in May compared with the year-earlier month to $2,323 per unit. That was an estimated 1 percent less than in April of this year, the consultancy said. Toyota's incentives were among the lowest of the top-selling brands and well below the industry average of $3,435 last month, ALG said.
For the first five months of the year, Toyota group sales fell 4.7 percent on a 3.5 percent decline at the Toyota division, including marginal sales of now-defunct Scion, and a 13 percent slide at Lexus.