LOS ANGELES -- Healthier inventories of light trucks and strong demand for the Civic helped propel American Honda to record September sales.
The automaker's U.S. sales rose 6.8 percent to 142,722 vehicles; American Honda deliveries are now up just 0.3 percent on the year to 1,231,603 vehicles.
ALG estimates American Honda's average incentive rose 4.6 percent last month to $1,999 -- among the lowest levels among mainstream automakers.
U.S. sales at the Honda division advanced 7.4 percent to 129,776 vehicles in September -- a record for the month.
The Civic compact car was the big winner with a 26 percent jump in sales to 35,452 units. The Accord -- at the end of its latest product cycle, with a new-generation model arriving this month -- clocked a 9.5 percent gain, with 29,789 sales.
"One of the key headlines for Honda is the continued strength in Civic," said Akshay Anand, executive analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "In fact, it was the top-selling vehicle in the Honda lineup, a rarity in today's SUV-driven world. With the approaching launch of the all-new Accord, they could be the brand that is the exception to the norm, with a balanced selling portfolio going forward."
Honda's light trucks benefited from increased production, yet sales of some models were still stymied by tight supplies. The Pilot midsize crossover was a big beneficiary from a boost in output, with September sales jumping 12 percent to 10,295 vehicles. The gain in Pilot sales volume came after American Honda moved production of the Acura MDX to its East Liberty, Ohio, plant, thus freeing up Pilot capacity at a Lincoln, Ala., factory.
The subcompact HR-V crossover had another good month, with deliveries rising 17 percent to 8,024.
Yet limited availability still hampered the CR-V, with sales down 2.9 percent to 30,956, and the Ridgeline, down 16 percent to 2,784 units.
U.S. sales at the Acura division edged up 1 percent to 12,946 vehicles but brand volume is off 4.7 percent for the year to 114,126.
Sales of the ILX compact sedan rose 33 percent to 1,222 while deliveries of the larger TLX fell 13 percent to 2,543.
With the move of MDX production to Ohio complete, increased capacity translated into increased availability, with sales of the midsize crossover jumping 8.9 percent to 5,368 units, a record for September. The MDX still has some ground to make up on the year however, with sales down 3.5 percent through September to 38,182 units.
That leaves the smaller RDX crossover as Acura's most popular model so far this year. Sales dipped 5.8 percent in September to 3,693 units; it's up 1.2 percent on the year to 39,180 total sales.