Toyota Dips in February, Honda Flat, Nissan Down

Cars and light trucks fell at Toyota, while Honda experienced a car loss but a light-truck gain and Nissan’s light-truck sales fell more than those of its cars.

March 1, 2019

4 Min Read
2019 Honda Passport mud mode
Honda light trucks, including new Passport, up in February.

Toyota sales fell 5.2% on a volume and daily-selling-rate basis in February to 172,748 units, as both its car and light-truck sales declined.

There were 24 selling days in both February 2018 and February 2019.

The No.1 Japanese automaker doesn’t offer a reason for the dip, but a colder and stormier than average winter in much of the country is seen by industry-watchers as a culprit in what is expected to be an underwhelming month for new light-vehicle sales in the U.S.

Toyota Div. sales slipped 6.3%, while Lexus Div. eked out an increase of 4.4%.

Declining car sales were responsible for most of Toyota’s total February loss, as Toyota and Lexus Div. cars slipped.

Toyota car sales slid 10.6% on big losses with the Prius hybrid (-48.2%), Camry midsize sedan (-21.4%), Avalon large sedan (-37.0%) and discontinued Yaris liftback (0.8%) B-car.

Gaining from February 2018 were the Corolla sedan and Corolla hatchback, up 16.3% and 10.1%, respectively. Toyota’s next-gen ’20 Corolla sedan went on sale this week at U.S. dealers, while the Corolla hatch was redesigned last year.

Lexus car sales dipped 1.7%, as losses with the IS, GS, LS and LC nameplates were tempered by a 23.8% increase in sales of Lexus’ best-selling car the ES. The RC coupe also saw an increase.

Toyota Div. light-truck sales slipped 3.1% as the automaker’s usual best-selling model, the RAV4 midsize CUV, posted a rare loss of 12.5%. Toyota is launching a next-generation RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid.

The RAV4’s decline placed it second in total sales (26,149) behind the Corolla sedan (27,370) last month, the first time since March of last year the RAV4 wasn’t Toyota’s No.1-selling model, Wards Intelligence data shows.

The Sienna minivan had the biggest loss among Toyota light trucks (-29.6%) but on smaller volume.

Toyota light trucks gaining in February were the Highlander large CUV (8.9%) and C-HR small CUV (7.3%). The Tacoma midsize pickup also posted a 10.2% increase.

At Lexus, 1,358 UX small CUVs sold, but a 6.8% rise in LX large SUV sales couldn’t offset losses by the NX, RX and GX utilities. The RX midsize CUV, Lexus’ best-selling model, dipped 2.5%.

Meanwhile, American Honda posted flat sales for February, dipping 0.4% to 115,139 as Acura gained 11.3%, but Honda Div. dipped 1.6%.

Like Toyota, Honda’s car sales fell, down 5.5% last month, but it did post a 2.1% gain in light-truck deliveries.

Honda’s low-volume Fit subcompact car dropped 54.5%, but it was the high-volume Civic C-car’s loss (-11.0%) that made a bigger impact.

In a month when its rival the Camry fell, Honda posted a 2.5% gain in Accord midsize sedan sales.

On the light-truck side, the CR-V midsize and HR-V small CUVs both gained, with the CR-V’s 26,304 sales just edging out the RAV4’s February tally.

Honda’s Pilot large CUV, Odyssey minivan and Ridgeline midsize pickup truck declined, while the automaker delivered 1,848 new Passport midsize CUVs in the vehicle’s first full month of sales.

Acura’s sales gain was driven by the still-hot new RDX midsize CUV. On sale for nearly a year, the RDX posted a 31.8% climb over its predecessor’s volume year-ago. Acura touts the RDX as the No.3 best-selling model in the U.S. luxury sector in recent months.

The RDX’s 4,965 units sold last month were a February record and the ninth consecutive monthly sales record for the vehicle, Acura says.

The RDX’s big brother, the MDX large CUV, also posted an increase (14.9%), as did the ILX compact car and NSX supercar, offsetting losses by the TLX and RLX midsize and large sedans.

At Nissan, total sales fell 12.0% to 114,342 with both Nissan (-11.4%) and Infiniti (-17.3%) faltering.

Unlike Toyota, Nissan posted a bigger loss in light trucks (-12.9%) than cars (-9.4%) due to declines by all but three nameplates: the NV large commercial van, Armada large SUV and new Kicks small CUV.

Nissan’s best-selling model, the Rogue midsize CUV, whose sales are combined with the smaller Rogue Sport CUV, dipped 16.3% from like-2018 to 31,899.

Sales of the Murano and Pathfinder CUVs also declined, as did those of the Frontier and Titan pickup trucks.

All of Nissan’s car nameplates, except the subcompact Versa (3.0%), also posted year-on-year losses. The Altima midsize sedan, redesigned late last year, was down 17.7%.

Declines of at least 40% among Infiniti cars, as well as a 25.9% drop in QX30 small CUV sales, were the culprit in Infiniti’s February falloff.

Sales of the QX50 midsize CUV were flat, although Infiniti’s best-seller, the QX60 3-row CUV did rise (6.1%), as did sales of the QX80 large SUV (16.5%).

Through February, Toyota U.S. volume was down 5.9%, Honda’s inched up 0.5% and Nissan’s was off 15.1% from like-2018, Wards Intelligence data shows.

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.