TOYOTA MOTOR SALES +17%
After a disastrous 2010, Toyota starts out the new year on pace with the market as a whole.
Finally, a good month for the Toyota division, with big jumps for the Avalon (+90%), Highlander (+68%), Sienna (+146%), and Tundra (+56%). The bad news was that the Camry fell out of first place; the good news was that the Corolla/Matrix stepped in to take the crown. Only the Venza (-33%) and perpetual loser the Yaris (-50%) disappointed.
The RX scratched out a minor uptick, but otherwise the news was all bad at Lexus. Worst was the HS250h (-77%); the new CT200h hybrid has yet to reach showrooms.
Once again, the new tC (+58%) was strong enough to push Scion into the black, but the other two models declined.
AMERICAN HONDA +13%
An unspectacular month for Honda. Its 13% increase was slightly off the pace, but still kept Honda in fourth place among the major automakers.
A disappointing month for the Accord (-28%) -- it was outsold by the Chevy Impala (!) -- weighed on Honda and somewhat negated the strong showings by the CR-V (+69%), the Odyssey (+44%), and the Fit (+60%).
The MDX was the engine of Acura's increase, with token assistance from the RDX and the TSX.
CHRYSLER GROUP +23%
New product for Jeep (Grand Cherokee) and Dodge (Durango), along with a powerhouse month for the minivans, helped Chrysler start 2011 with a bang.
Chrysler cars slumped but things would have been much worse had it not been for the Town & Country (+45%).
The return of the Durango gave Dodge a boost, but not nearly as much as the massive surge in Grand Caravan sales (+82%). Call this the month of the minivan.
Healthy big pickup sales easily obscured a minor fallback for the Dakota.
Grand Cherokee sales are running at more than double the pace of the previous edition. The Patriot (+75%), Liberty (+36%), and Wrangler (+32%) also enjoyed an upswing. Meanwhile Commander sales (-93%) have all but ceased.