Japan’s largest automakers posted solid U.S. sales gains in October, with Toyota up 5.2%, Honda rising 4.9% and Nissan climbing 12.7% compared with October 2016, based on daily selling rates. The month had 25 selling days this year compared with 26 in 2016.
However, year-to-date results are less upbeat, as volume so far in 2017 grew only 0.6% for Toyota (to 2,019,913 units), 0.3% for Honda (to 1,358,956) and 1.8% for Nissan (to 1,319,253), according to WardsAuto data.
Drilling deeper into brand results for each automaker, Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand had a disappointing October (down 4.9% based on DSR) but its year-to-date tally leads the entire group – up a stout 14.8% to 124,010 vehicles compared with like-2016.
Leading Infiniti’s growth is the sleek new Q60 coupe, which carries over much of the mechanical bits of the Q50 sedan.
The Q50 has been in the market a few years and remains the brand’s best-selling car (30,867 units year-to-date), but the sedan may have lost at least a few sales in recent weeks to the Q60, whose deliveries through October have more than quadrupled to 9,065 vehicles compared with year-ago.
Infiniti’s best-seller is the QX60 large CUV, with 3,227 October deliveries representing a 14.2% gain over like-2016 based on DSR. Year-to-date, Infiniti sold 32,587 QX60s, down 4.1% from last year. Also selling reasonably well was the new QX30 compact luxury CUV, with year-to-date volume reaching 12,652 units.
For the Nissan brand, the redesigned Rogue compact CUV remains its best seller, continuing a steep climb to 327,213 deliveries year-to-date, a 24.5% jump over 2016. On a DSR basis, October’s 30,286 units represent a 48.6% gain over like-2016, according to WardsAuto data.
Other gainers on the truck/utility side for Nissan are the Titan pickup (up 180.2% year-to-date to 39,663 units), Pathfinder SUV (up 4.4% year-to-date to 68,427) and the NV200 compact commercial vehicle (up 16.7% on a DSR basis to 1,389 deliveries in October).
Stumbling for Nissan were the ready-for-redesign Altima sedan (down 17.1% year-to-date to 217,724 units), Juke compact CUV (down 44% year-to-date to 9,561) and the Murano CUV (down 18% year-to-date to 58,621).
The Toyota brand grew its year-to-date volume 4.7% to 1,777,161 deliveries on strength of the red-hot RAV4 compact CUV (up 20.7% to 346,316 units), 4Runner SUV (up 15.7% to 106,239) and Highlander CUV (up 21.4% to 175,657). Pitching in 18,498 units year-to-date was the new C-HR compact CUV.
In its second month on the market, the all-new Camry sedan took an unexpected downturn despite aggressive television marketing. Sales were down 7.7% based on DSR to 26,252 units compared with October 2016, and down 5.6% year-to-date to 308,759.
Sales of Tacoma and Tundra pickups remain basically unchanged relative to last year, but several other models show sizable declines year-to-date: Sienna minivan (down 11.6%), Prius and Prius C hybrids (down 16.4% and 39.2% respectively), Corolla sedan (down 10.5%) and Avalon sedan (down 28.4%).
The Lexus luxury brand fell 7.1% for the year to 242,553 vehicles and 4.2% for October based on DSR to 22,894 deliveries.
Standouts include the RC coupe (down 36.7% year-to-date), GS sedan (down 50.5% year-to-date), ES sedan (down 11.5% year-to-date), IS sedan (down 27.4% year-to-date) and the CT hybrid hatchback (down 36.7% year-to-date).
The automaker is hoping the all-new fifth-generation flagship LS sedan, going on sale in the U.S. in February, will help turn the tide for the brand. For now, the current-generation LS shows a 23.2% drop in year-to-date sales to 3,430 units. One bright spot was the aggressively styled NX luxury CUV, whose year-to-date sales were up 9.8% at 46,527 units.
For the Honda brand, year-to-date sales are basically flat, at 1,232,132 units, while the Acura luxury division continues to slide (down 4.4% year-to-date to 126,824 deliveries).
Honda’s biggest gainers are the Ridgeline pickup (up 81.7% to 29,285 year-to-date) and the HR-V compact CUV (up 23.9% year-to-date to 80,338).
The CR-V continues selling briskly, at 308,706 units for the year, up 5.1% from like-2016, but it trails the Civic, the brand’s best seller, which notched 314,699 deliveries, up 1.5% for the year.
An all-new Accord sedan will launch soon, but the current model is holding its own, up 8.7% on a DSR basis to 1,069 units for the month.
Acura’s best-selling model remains the MDX luxury CUV, at 43,469 units for the year (down 2.6% from like-2016), while the smaller RDX CUV is running a close second, at 42,712 for the year (down 0.1%).