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2018 Toyota Camry in Garden
Midsize cars such as Toyota Camry (above), Honda Accord and Nissan Altima all suffered double-digit sales drops in July.

U.S. Sales Soft for Japanese Automakers in July

Truck sales were strong for Toyota and Honda, but not so for Nissan, which recorded a decline from year-ago despite a solid performance from its Titan fullsize pickup.

It was a disappointing month for the Japanese Big Three, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, which collectively saw their U.S. light-vehicle sales fall 9.0% by volume for the month of July, chiefly the result of a weak car market.

Toyota saw deliveries dip 2.1% over the 24-day selling period (one less day than year-ago) on a volume of 208,770 vehicles, according to Wards Intelligence data.

Lexus sales slipped 8.4% to 25,403 units, but the Toyota brand’s 1.1% decline accounted for most of the automaker’s shortfall, with deliveries dropping nearly 10,000 units to 183,367.

Overall truck sales were strong, with the Toyota (posting its best-ever month for trucks) and Lexus brands combining for 134,736 units, up 6.5% from like-2017. But that wasn’t enough to offset the more than 16,000-unit plunge in car sales, reaching just 74,034 for the month. Camry’s 19% slide accounted for almost half of the gap in cars from year-ago, with sales dropping 7,500 units to 26,311.

Honda sales fell 4.4% daily on a volume of 138,602 light vehicles, with Acura deliveries down 2.7% (13,247) and the Honda brand declining 4.5% to 125,355.

The automaker posted a 7.5% gain on the truck side to 76,888 and says it is now certain Honda-brand’s light trucks will outsell its cars for the first time in history this calendar year. Car sales took a 15.9% dive daily in the month on 61,714 units, with main culprits the Honda Civic (-25.3%) and Accord (-16.0%).

Top performers were a trio of CUVs, the Honda Pilot (+35.9%), Honda CRV (+7.7%) and Acura RDX (+8.8%)

Nissan recorded the biggest overall decline of the three Japanese automakers, with daily sales dropping 11.7% on a volume of 108,792 light vehicles. That included a double-digit slide (-12.2%) for the Nissan brand and a more modest 6.3% falloff for Infiniti.

Unlike Toyota and Honda, Nissan suffered a decline in truck sales, as daily volume fell 7.9% on a total of 60,613 units. That combined with a 16.0% plunge in car sales (48,179 units) in producing the automaker’s weak July showing.

Leading the car decline at the Nissan brand were the soon-to-be-revamped Altima (-25.2%) and Maxima (-51.4%), offsetting a solid showing by the Sentra (+7.7%). Among stronger truck performers were the Infiniti QX50 (+40.8%) and QX80 (+11.1%).

Nissan’s fullsize Titan pickup did well, with daily sales up 9.3%, but the smaller Frontier saw demand weaken dramatically, with daily deliveries off 37.6%.

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