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CR-V rises while competitors RAV4, Rogue fall in September.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan Sales Drop in September

The Japan Big Three each saw declines last month in U.S. sales, largely due to the old culprit of falling car deliveries.

Toyota U.S. sales fell 6.8% in September on a daily-selling-rate basis to 203,098 units, brought down by a 24.9% decline in Toyota-brand cars. There were 25 selling days last month compared with 26 in September 2017.

The Toyota brand sold roughly 23,000 fewer cars last month than in September 2017, with declines across all nameplates barring the Yaris.

Camry sales dropped 17.2% on a DSR basis to 27,640, while the Corolla sedan fell 35.7% to 19,130.

As has been the case most of the year, Toyota light trucks rose, though by the second smallest amount all year, 5.1%. Wards Intelligence data shows only Toyota’s May 1.6% light-truck increase was smaller, with most monthly gains this year in the 7.0%-10.0% range.

The midsize RAV4 CUV, now Toyota’s top-selling model, experienced a rare decline, dropping 8.2% from its September-record volume of 42,395 achieved year-ago.

Still, Toyota says the RAV4 has had a best-ever 9-month streak, tallying 319,147 sales through September 2018.

The only other Toyota light-truck to decline last month was the Sienna minivan, falling 17.8% on a DSR basis.

While the RAV4 was soft, Toyota’s Highlander large CUV hit record monthly volume of 21,986, good for a 12.3% DSR spike.

The year-old CH-R small CUV was the brand’s biggest-gaining light-truck, up 44.1% on 4,180 sales.

The Tacoma midsize pickup also was a strong gainer, up 28.2%.

At the Lexus luxury brand, the situation was reversed, with cars up and light trucks down.

Lexus car sales rose 4.9% on a DSR basis thanks to added volume from the redesigned LS flagship.

LS sales spiked 60.8%, offsetting declines at nearly every car nameplate except the also-redesigned ES midsize sedan, which rose 28.0%.

Lexus light-truck sales dipped 5.8% on a DSR basis, with all models but the midsize RX (up 1.0%) down. The GX and LX SUVs fell 21.9% and 26.3%, respectively, while the NX midsize CUV slipped 6.3%.

Total Toyota-brand sales in September tallied 178,501, down 7.4% on DSR, while total Lexus sales were 24,597, down 2.3%.

Through the first three quarters of 2018, Toyota has sold 1.824 million vehicles, down 0.4%. Toyota-brand sales are flat, down 0.1% to 1.611 million and Lexus sales slipped 2.7% to 213,622.

In other sales news, Toyota’s top Japanese competitors, Honda and Nissan, both posted declines on a DSR basis, Wards Intelligence data shows.

American Honda September U.S. sales fell 3.3% to 132,688, with Honda down 4.5% and Acura up 8.5%.

Notable declines at Honda included the Accord midsize sedan and Civic compact car, off 11.5% and 27.2%, respectively. The HR-V continued to slump, down 22.5%, as the small CUV has been impacted by flooding woes at Honda’s Celaya, Mexico, plant.

Gainers for Honda included the CR-V midsize CUV, the brand’s best-selling model and up 2.8% on a DSR basis, as well as the Pilot large CUV, up a hefty 56.2% on 15,464 units, a September record.

Acura sales were boosted by the new RDX, resulting in a 60.5% DSR spike for the redesigned midsize CUV.

Through September, total American Honda sales stood at 1.207 million, down 2.0% from like-2017.

Nissan U.S. sales fell 8.7% last month on a DSR basis, on 122,819 sales. The Nissan brand recorded a 9.8% loss while Infiniti rose 2.3%.

Impacting Nissan were plunging car sales, with both the Maxima (-69.8%) and soon-to-be-replaced Altima (-25.5%) sedans down. However, like Toyota, Nissan also saw a decline with its top-seller, the Rogue midsize CUV, which fell 8.0%.

Up were the Frontier midsize pickup (77.4%) and the Leaf EV (54.1%). The new Kicks small CUV tallied 3,498 units.

Infiniti can credit the QX80 large SUV, up 78.6%, for its good performance, as well as the redesigned QX50 midsize CUV, up 76.8%.

Down for Infiniti were the Q50 midsize sedan (-35.3%) and the QX30 small CUV (-44.7%).

Through September, Nissan sold 1.125 million vehicles, a 6.0% decline from the first nine months of 2017.

TAGS: Dealers
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