August 2011 Auto Sales

That Toyota's sales decline in August wasn't as steep as the one it reported in July was probably a small consolation to the largest import-brand carmaker operating in the United States. Better news was the fact that the Camry, which is in sell-down mode ahead of the redesigned 2012 model's arrival, easily took the mantle as bestselling passenger car.

Toyota -14%
Camry sales (-3%) weren't quite as great as last year, but 30,185 nonetheless bested all comers. Unfortunately, that's pretty much where the good news ended for Toyota, although a couple models managed single-digit increases: Highlander, Tacoma, and Venza.

Lexus -7%
The CT200h, which sold 2087 units, couldn't put Lexus into the black, not surprising considering that every other Lexus model declined.

Scion -9%
The still-fresh tC managed to eke out a gain (+2%), but the other Scion models slipped.

The Koreans doubled the industry increase, gobbling up more market share in the process. Upstart Kia continues to grow faster than Hyundai.

Hyundai +10%
Hyundai's increase didn't come from its newer models; instead, it was the Santa Fe (+55%) that had the biggest gain. Meanwhile, the Sonata (-3%) and the Elantra (-1%) cooled a bit.

Kia +27%
As it did in July, the Optima volume more than tripled. The Sorento (+50%) and Sedona (+37%) trailed in its wake.

Nissan has suffered fewer effects of the earthquake/tsunami-related supply shortages than the other major Japanese brands, and that can be seen in the company's August results. Only Infiniti, a comparably tiny portion of the corporate Nissan total, remains significantly affected.

Nissan +22%
The Altima had another monster month (+25%), besting all mid-size sedans except the Camry. The Maxima and the Versa also gained, both up 15%. The Cube and the Z both dropped by 37%. All the trucks, save the Armada, were better than last year.

Infiniti -4%
Infiniti wasn't off nearly as much as in July, thanks to a positive showing by the G (+2%).

August was no better than July for Honda, despite what the company characterized as improving production capability.

Honda -25%
The Pilot (+16%) and the CR-Z (+7%) were the only two Honda models that sold more than last year. Every other model dropped, some precipitously: Civic (-47%), Insight (-53%), and Ridgeline (-86%). The Accord fell by 21%, and continued to trail competitors such as the Camry, the Altima, and the Fusion.

Acura -22%
Like Honda, Acura's August was every bit as bleak as its July. The TSX (-6%) had the strongest showing. The weakest, and they were very weak in deed, came from the ZDX (-81%, and 81 sold) and, naturally, the RL (-79%, with only 41 sold).

I don't think the earthquake is the only reason Toyota and Honda sales are down. Have you seen their stale products recently? The new Camry doesn't appear to add much (boring) compared to the Hyundai/Kia/Ford/GM products. The new Civic can't compete with the other compacts. Never thought I would see cheap plastics and terrible ergonomics in a Honda. What happened?

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