Toyota Slips 2.0% in May While Honda Rises

Toyota’s CUVs and SUVs have a best-ever month, Honda’s cars shine, but low supply and movement away from luxury cars hampers Lexus and Acura results.

June 1, 2016

3 Min Read
Prius sales down in May
Prius sales down in May.

With one fewer weekend in May 2016 vs. May 2015, Toyota sales fell 2.0% on a daily-selling-rate basis last month on 219,339 sales.

The Toyota Div., which includes the departing Scion brand, recorded an adjusted loss of 2.0%, while Lexus slipped 2.6% on a DSR basis.

As was the case in April, Toyota’s light trucks outperformed its cars.

May was a best-ever month for Toyota CUVs and SUVs, the automaker says in a statement.

Toyota light trucks, led by the red-hot RAV4 which had its best May with 32,261 sales, posted a 4.6% climb to 96,638. CUVs and SUVs accounted for 58,870 of that total.

Reflective of low fuel prices were the 42.2% and 31.2% gains for the Land Cruiser and 4Runner SUVs. However, both models are relatively low volume, with 315 and 10,352 respective sales.

The Highlander CUV and Sequoia SUV posted small increases.

Toyota’s pickups slipped, with the 2.3% adjusted gain in Tacoma midsize truck sales not enough to offset the 9.4% loss in Tundra deliveries.

The Camry and Corolla again were Toyota’s No.1 and No.2 sellers, with the midsize car notching 36,916 deliveries and the compact 34,872. However, the Camry slipped 8.8% while the Corolla posted a modest 2.7% increase.

Toyota delivered 40 Mirai fuel-cell cars last month, bringing the year’s tally to 178, but its other dedicated green car, the Prius, suffered a 30.7% DSR loss in May. The aging Prius V wagon posted the biggest decline but the new fourth-generation Prius liftback also was in the red, down 14.7% adjusted.

Despite its imminent departure, Scion had a 50.1% DSR increase last month thanks to additional volume from the iA and iM small cars, which launched late last summer. All older Scion nameplates posted steep losses. The brand will be dissolved with the ’17 model year, with the FR-S sports car and iA and iM being absorbed into the Toyota lineup.

At Lexus, cars suffered a 16.5% drop vs. year-ago, while light trucks enjoyed a 12.0% gain. Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken says light-truck sales could have been better had supply been more robust.

Only two Lexus cars gained sales, with the LS large sedan posting a rare increase, up 25.4%.

The ES inched up 4.6%, but all other Lexus car nameplates fell 28.2% or more.

The redesigned RX continued to pay dividends for Lexus, as the CUV led all light-truck nameplates with a 19.2% adjusted May increase. The 2-year-old NX CUV was up 8.8%, while the GX SUV fell 7.7% and the LX gained 6.2%.

Honda Sees Good Results for Cars and CUVs

Honda is the rare automaker seeing gains in its car lineup this year and May was no different.

Honda’s Accord and Civic helped propel it to a 3.1% DSR gain for the month, with the HR-V subcompact CUV also a good performer.

Accord and Civic sales rose 6.9% and 11.2% on an adjusted basis to 31,949 and 35,396, respectively.

Meanwhile, HR-V demand remained strong, as the B-CUV posted a 25.5% rise last month vs. May 2015, when the vehicle debuted in the U.S.

Unlike its rival the RAV4, May wasn’t as good a month for the CR-V. The midsize CUV’s sales were flat, up just 0.9% to 29,359 units. Year-to-date CR-V volume continues to trail the RAV4’s, 129,460 to 138,535.

Sales of Honda’s Odyssey minivan and Pilot large CUV rose 3.1% and 3.6%, respectively, on a DSR basis.

Acura sales fell 13.8%, as every nameplate was in the red.

The brand’s biggest-selling models, the RDX and MDX CUVs, were down 7.4% and 15.9%. Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda says the selldown of the ’16 RDX and scant supplies of the MDX were to blame.

A refreshed MDX is due later this month, although supplies aren’t expected to improve until next year when Honda begins dual-sourcing the vehicle from Ohio as well as Alabama.

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