Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. sold more Highlanders than Corollas and nearly 10,000 more RAV4s than Camrys in September than it did a year ago as it concluded a record first nine months of light-truck sales.
Overall, Toyota's sales fell 10 percent last month. Sales of nearly every Toyota brand car model struggled, and total car sales for Toyota and Lexus brands were down 25 percent.
Light-truck sales for the Toyota brand, meanwhile, rose 1.1 percent, including gains of 23 percent for the Tacoma pickup and 39 percent for the C-HR subcompact crossover. The RAV4, though down 12 percent from a year ago, remained the company's most popular nameplate, with sales of 37,440 units.
That compares with 27,640 Camrys and 20,797 Corollas. Both the Highlander and the Tacoma topped the Corolla.
Lexus fared slightly better than the Toyota brand, helped by a 55 percent jump for the LS, to 668 units, and a 23 percent gain for the redesigned ES, to 5,206 units.
Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division, said the industrywide light truck-to-car ratio is pushing 70-30, and Toyota is at about 62-38, while "looking to edge it a little higher" in favor of trucks.
Toyota is "still eying" the 5 million-unit car market, but the company has "a great truck story to tell," Hollis told reporters Tuesday on a conference call.
Brands: Toyota down 11 percent; Lexus down 6.1 percent.
2018 U.S. market share: 14.1% through Sept. vs. 14.2% through Sept. 2017.
Notable nameplates: Camry down 20%; Corolla down 37%; C-HR up 39%; RAV4 down 12%; Highlander up 8%; Tacoma up 23%; Lexus NX down 9.9%; Lexus RX down 2.9%; Lexus LS up 55%; Lexus ES up 23%.
Incentives: $2,432 per vehicle, down 13% from a year earlier, according to estimates by ALG.
Average transaction price: $31,946, up 3% from a year earlier, according to ALG.
Quote: "Toyota had a tough month, with Camry and RAV4 sales dropping significantly," said Akshay Anand, executive analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "Sedans continue to struggle in this environment, and it remains to be seen if RAV4's dip is a blip or pause for greater concern."
Did you know? Tacoma sales topped 20,000 units for a fifth consecutive month and the sixth time this year.