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Hondarsquos Accord one of few cars in positive territory in May
<p><strong>Honda&rsquo;s Accord one of few cars in positive territory in May.</strong></p>

Toyota, Honda and Nissan Fall in May

Light trucks continue to cook for the Japanese Big Three while car sales suffer. Toyota&rsquo;s RAV4 midsize CUV racked up an all-time record 38,356 sales last month.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan’s U.S. sales declined in May, as all continued to suffer losses on the car side but showed strength in light trucks.

Toyota deliveries fell 4.5% on a daily-selling-rate basis last month, to 218,248, WardsAuto data shows. There was one more selling day in May 2017 than in May 2016.

While Toyota-brand sales were flat, down 0.5%, Lexus slipped 8.6%. WardsAuto still tracks the discontinued Scion brand, which looks to be nearly out of inventory as 10 sales were recorded last month, down 99.9% from May 2016.

Across all Toyota brands, cars dropped 17.3% and light trucks increased 7.9%.

The Toyota Div.’s light-truck lineup had a best-ever May, as did the RAV4 midsize CUV and Highlander large CUV, Toyota says.

The RAV4 tallied 38,356, not only a best-ever May tally, but per WardsAuto data an all-time record for the CUV. The RAV4’s best prior monthly volume was 37,214 set in December 2016.

The hybrid variant dipped 6.6% last month, Toyota says, comprising 4,070 of the vehicle’s total sales. RAV4 Hybrid sales through May tallied 17,061, up 9.9% from like-2016, Toyota says.

RAV4 sales through May stood at 150,646, an 8.7% increase and overtaking the Camry midsize sedan and Corolla compact car year-to-date.

Toyota has a goal of selling 400,000 RAV4s in the current calendar year, and brand officials have said the RAV4 may become its best-selling model this year or next.

The RAV’s big brother, the Highlander CUV, racked up 18,115 sales, a 17.6% increase from May 2016.

The RAV4 was Toyota’s best-selling model in May, topping the usual No.1 Camry sedan for the fifth time ever, with the first time occurring just last August.

The Camry also was outsold by Honda’s Accord in May, by exactly 1,000 units. Camry sales slid 15.4% in May to 32,547. Toyota is preparing to launch the ’18 Camry later this summer.

Toyota’s other top-selling car, the Corolla, fell 14.8% to 30,942.

The Prius continues its long decline since the current-gen went on sale early last year. The Prius, which includes the original liftback body style, new Prime plug-in hybrid variant and aged V wagon, fell 22.0% last month. Sales of the 3-car lineup were down 13.6% through May.

Toyota says 1,908 units of the car’s 8,619 May total were the Prime.

The new C-HR small CUV sold 1,848 units in May, for 2,398 total since going on sale in April.

The Lexus brand continues to suffer steeper car losses than Toyota, with Lexus cars falling 23.8% in May and declines registered among every model.

Lexus sold 419 copies of the new LC sports car.

Lexus utilities rose 3.2% as a group, with the NX midsize CUV and LX large SUV offsetting losses with the RX and GX models. The NX posted a best-ever May result of 5,009 units, good for a 19.3% jump.

Toyota U.S. sales were down 4.7% through May to 952,785. The Toyota brand is flat, while Lexus is in the red by 13.1%.

Jack Hollis, the newly installed group vice president-Toyota Div., indicates the automaker is ready to meet even greater demand for light trucks, noting inventory of the vehicle type “remains at healthy levels for our customers during the summer buying season.”

Honda Dips on Cars

Honda’s U.S. sales fell 3.1% in May on a DSR basis, with Honda dipping more than Acura, down 3.3% vs. 1.3% as cars dragged down both.

While Honda is celebrating the 500,000th sale of the current-generation Civic, which debuted in late 2015, deliveries of the compact car fell 13.2% last month to 31,989.

The Accord midsize car rose slightly, up 0.8% to 33,547 units, while Honda’s Fit subcompact hatchback dropped 14.1% to 5,105.

On the light-truck side, Honda posted a 1.4% increase thanks to 9,533 HR-V subcompact CUV deliveries, a monthly record for the 2-year-old vehicle and a 23.8% jump from year-ago.

The HR-V and the midsize CR-V CUV, the latter up 5.2%, helped offset declines of the Pilot large CUV (-14.9%) and Odyssey minivan (-29.3%). The latter is in transition, as Honda is selling down the ’17 model and began retailing the next-gen ’18 Odyssey on May 25.

Honda’s year-old second-generation Ridgeline compact pickup added 2,956 units to the brand’s May tally.

At Acura, a strong month for the RDX midsize CUV (8.3%) and the TLX midsize sedan (4.1%) nearly balanced 38.0%-plus declines of the ILX and RLX cars, as well as the 1.7% dip of the MDX large CUV. Despite a recent refresh, the MDX is down 7.6% through May. Acura has blamed a lack of inventory and intense competition for the MDX’s falloff this year.

Through May, American Honda volume is flat, down 0.2% to 652,093, with Honda up 1.1% and Acura down 11.5%.

Nissan Slips, Infiniti Rises

Nissan sales slipped 1.1% on a DSR basis in May, with an 11.6% jump in light-truck deliveries just shy of counteracting a 12.6% decline in car sales.

At the Nissan brand, sales fell 2.2% with the Altima midsize sedan decreasing 18.9% to 23,994.

The Rogue midsize CUV continues to exceed the Altima’s monthly deliveries this year, racking up 32,533 sales in May, which Nissan says is a record for the month and good for a 13.9% increase.

Other major movers for Nissan last month, and in positive territory, include the refreshed Armada large SUV (200.7%), the Maxima fullsize sedan (13.5%) and the Leaf electric vehicle (36.5%).

In negative territory were the Juke small CUV (-46.0%), Sentra compact car (-12.7%) and discontinued Quest minivan (-67.1%).

The new Titan fullsize pickup tallied a 414.0% jump from year ago, albeit on relatively low monthly volume of 4,937.

Nissan says its NV commercial vans set a May record, with 1,724 deliveries of the NV 200 and 1,769 sales of the larger NV.

Infiniti sales climbed 10.9% from year-ago with gains at half the brand’s models.

The Q50 midsize sedan spiked 36.7%, the QX70 midsize CUV rose 28.3% and the new Q60 midsize coupe went from 103 sales year-ago to 972 last month, an 805.9% jump.

The new QX30 CUV added 927 sales to Infiniti’s May volume; the QX50 and QX60 CUVs had losses greater than 22.0%.

Through May, Nissan’s U.S. sales rose 2.9% to 676,360, with the Nissan brand up 1.0% and Infiniti rising 24.0%.

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