Japanese Brands Post Positive January Sales, 2012 Toyota Camry Still Hot

Almost all the Japanese brands had a positive start to the New Year. As expected, the all-new 2012 Toyota Camry remains a sales leader in its segment, selling over 28,000 vehicles last month. Honda and Nissan also did well, thanks to models like the 2012 Civic and the 2012 Nissan Versa.

Toyota – Up 7.5 Percent

Toyota may not be running at full steam yet, but they are slowly clawing their way back up the sales ladder. As expected, the all-new 2012 Toyota Camry was the brand’s best seller, with 28,295 units sold, an increase of 55.9 percent compared to January 2011. Percentage-wise, the Avalon did surprisingly well with 3219 sold, which is 79.3 percent higher than last year. The SUV department, however, isn’t looking too good with the Venza and Sequoia the only ones with positive numbers. The Tundra is also down, while customers appear to be favoring the smaller and more economical Tacoma, which sold 8898 units in January, an increase of 24.6 percent.

Lexus – Down 4.6 Percent

Almost all Lexus models reported a decline last month, most notably the CT 200h, which is down 46.9 percent with 1025 units sold. The RX, usually a sales superstar for Lexus, was down 14.3 percent with 5038 sold. On the positive side are the ES (2410 sold, up 8.8 percent) and the LX (289 sold, up 2.1 percent).

Scion – Up 7.9 Percent

January marks the debut of the Scion iQ microcar, which made its way home to 374 customers. The xD was the only Scion to report positive numbers with 652 sold, an increase of 4.2 percent. The tC was the brands volume leader despite a 3.1 percent decline with 1309 sold.

Nissan – Up 12.5 Percent

The Altima continues to be Nissan’s highest volume seller with 22,357 units sold last month for an increase of 35.9 percent. Versa also continues to do well with 9418 sold, which is 8.5 percent more than January 2011. Its bigger sibling the Sentra didn’t fare as well, with 7066 units sold, a decrease of 25.9 percent. The Cube, however, experienced the sharpest drop with 461 sold, which is 72.2 percent less than last year. Nissan’s trucks and SUVs all did well, including the Frontier (3782 sold, up 35.3 percent), the Pathfinder (2081 sold, up 30.6 percent), and the Armada (1402 sold, up 24.6).

Infiniti – Down 8.2 Percent

The QX56 SUV was a bright spot for Infiniti last month with 1020 sold, good for a 30.4 percent increase compared to January 2011. And with 942 units sold and a 0.2 percent improvement from last year, the FX was the only other Infiniti model to report positive sales. The diminutive EX had the sharpest decline with 318 sold, down 34 percent.

Honda – Up 9.3 Percent

The all-new Civic was Honda’s best seller for January with 21,883 units sold, an increase of 49.5 percent compared to January 2011, despite the company working to refresh the car within the next year already. In second place (volume-wise) was the CR-V (18,960/up 16 percent), followed by the Accord (13,659/up 1.5 percent). The aging Ridgeline did surprisingly well for Honda with 1245 sold, which is 45.6 percent better than January 2011. Honda’s hybrids were down with the Civic reporting 449 sold (down 31.2 percent), the CR-Z reporting 363 sold (down 59.4 percent), and the Insight reporting 492 sold (down 68.3 percent).

Acura – Up 5.3 Percent

Honda’s luxury arm was positive for the month of January, anchored by the TL sedan, which sold 2283 units, up 43.4 percent. The TSX also did well with 2266 sold, an increase of 16.7 percent compared to January 2011. Acura’s remaining models slipped last month, including the RL, which only sold 33 units, free-fall decline of 79.4 percent. Acura’s crossovers were down including the MDX at 2861 sold (down 8.5 percent), the ZDX at 54 sold (down 63.5 percent), and the RDX at 884 sold (down 11 percent).

Subaru – Up 21 Percent

Subaru continues its streak of strong months. The all-new 2012 Impreza stole the sales spotlight with 6221 units sold, which is 175.5 percent more than the same period last year. Second in volume was the Outback with 7412 units sold, an increase of 6.2 percent. Also positive was the Tribeca, with 228 units sold, up 15.2 percent.

Mazda – Up 68.2 Percent

Mazda had a stellar January, anchored by the Mazda3, which sold 9,200 units (83.4 percent increase). The Mazda6 also did well with 4929 units sold (up 118.3 percent), followed by the CX-7 crossover with 3125 sold (up 32.6 percent). The small Mazda2 also seems to be popular with 3030 sold, an increase of 532.6 percent over January 2011.

Suzuki – Down 47 Percent

We can’t say for sure what’s going on with Suzuki. They have a few solid products including the Kizashi (253 sold, down 73 percent) and the Equator (108 sold, down 27 percent). Not surprisingly, the aging Grand Vitara was down 21 percent (384 sold). As we’ve said before, Suzuki is in need of some major updates and more effort in getting the word out.

Mitsubishi – Down 17.6 Percent

Mitsubishi reported a 17.6 percent decline for the month of January. Sales figures for each model weren’t provided, though the automaker said the Outlander Sport was up 5 percent compared to January 2011, while the Lancer Evolution was also positive 10.7 percent.

Sources: Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi

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