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Toyota sold record 43,499 RAV4s in May 2019.

Toyota Sales Inch Up in May, Honda Falls, Nissan Flat

A best-ever RAV4 result, and good numbers for the Tacoma, Camry and Avalon push Toyota into the black.

Sales of 222,174 vehicles were good for a 3.2% daily selling rate increase at Toyota in May, thanks to the strength of Toyota Div. light trucks, in particular an all-time record month for the RAV4.

There were the same number of selling days (26) in May 2019 as in May 2018.

The Toyota division, up 4.1% overall, sold 43,499 RAV4s in the U.S., besting its previous best month of August 2017 when 43,265 RAVs were delivered, Wards Intelligence data shows.

The RAV4 was redesigned for ’19 and made up 99.7% of last month’s RAV sales, a Toyota spokeswoman tells Wards.

The strong performance by the RAV4 propelled Toyota’s total light-truck sales to a May-best 122,324.

Toyota also says it saw the 19th straight month of increase for the Tacoma midsize pickup, up 6.8% in May to 22,832 deliveries.

Overall, more than half of Toyota Div.’s light-truck nameplates rose last month. The exceptions were the C-HR small CUV (down 8.5%), the Sequoia large SUV (down 8.6%) and the 4Runner midsize SUV (down 11.8%).

On the car side, Toyota posted a small increase of 1.2%, with the Camry tallying 36,208 sales, good for a 20.8% hike over year-ago.

The Avalon also posted a strong increase (21.8%).

Lexus did not enjoy the same increase as Toyota, falling 3.4% last month due to continued softness in car sales and a slight drop in utility deliveries.

Lexus cars declined 7.7% with all models posting losses. The RC coupe had the lowest drop (-5.1%), while the GS mid-large sedan notched the biggest falloff (-61.3%) among models not discontinued.

The new UX small CUV’s 1,420 units were not enough to offset declines at all of Lexus’ existing utility nameplates. The low-volume LX large SUV declined the most (-29.6%), while the brand’s best-selling model, the RX midsize CUV, had a loss of 9.4%. Lexus last week revealed a refreshed ’20 RX, going on sale later this year.

Total Toyota U.S. sales through May stood at 949,756, a decrease of 3.1% from January-May 2018. Toyota Div. was down 3.6% in the period, while Lexus was up 1.3%.

American Honda, Toyota’s top Japanese rival in the U.S., was not as lucky in May, with sales slipping 4.9% on a 7.4% loss in cars and a 2.7% light-truck falloff, Wards Intelligence data shows.

The losses mainly came from the Honda Div., down 5.9% compared with Acura’s 5.7% increase.

Honda’s three best-selling models registered declines.

Sales of the Accord midsize sedan dropped 15.3% and the CR-V midsize CUV fell 14.0%.

The Civic compact car bucked the trend slightly, falling just 4.5%. The Civic was Honda’s best-selling model last month with 32,800 deliveries; Honda says it held a leading 30% share in the U.S. C-car segment.

The automaker hints at the U.S. market’s leveling off as the reason for its May performance.

All other existing Honda nameplates posted losses, although the new Insight hybrid car and new Passport midsize CUV added 2,653 and 3,434 units, respectively, to Honda’s May tally.

Acura had a brighter month, with the RDX continuing to ride a wave of popularity. The midsize CUV, redesigned a year ago, had a best-ever May and has posted sales records for 11 of the past 12 months, American Honda says in a statement.

The vehicle’s 5,415 sales were up 15.1% from a year ago.

Acura’s biggest increase came from the ILX compact sedan, up 21.1% to 1,351. The brand’s only decline was posted by the low-volume RLX midsize sedan, down 44.2%.

Through May, American Honda’s U.S. sales were flat, with volume of 641,094 vs. 641,261 in like-2018.

Sales at Nissan, the third best-selling Japanese automaker in the U.S, essentially were flat in May, up 0.1% to 131,983 units, thanks to the Nissan brand’s 1.1% gain offsetting a 10.4% loss at Infiniti.

A hefty 102.6% increase in Armada large SUV sales (to 4,490, which Nissan says was a May record) and smaller gains with the redesigned Altima midsize sedan (5.2%) and Pathfinder large CUV (26.7%) helped offset a decline in Rogue sales.

Nissan’s most popular model, the Rogue midsize CUV, fell 25.5% in May to 28,600, placing it third in volume behind the RAV4 and CR-V. It was the fourth monthly loss for the Rogue this year, Wards Intelligence data shows.

A 56.6% increase in QX80 large SUV sales, and a 10.3% hike in sales of Infiniti’s best-selling model, the QX60 large CUV, couldn’t stem the bleeding at the luxury brand, which saw six of its eight nameplates decline.

Through May, Nissan North America sold 593,532 vehicles in the U.S., down 6.6% from year-ago on volume. Nissan was down 5.9% in the period and Infiniti 13.4%.

TAGS: Dealers
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