As predicted, the March 2011 earthquake in Japan continues to have a lingering effect on sales for the top three Japanese automakers. May sales figures for Japanese car companies in the U.S. are in, and although many have made inroads towards a full recovery, the numbers speak volumes about the prolonged effect the natural catastrophe has on their bottom line.
Toyota – 96,082 Units, Down 26 Percent
Toyota took the biggest hit, with 96,082 total units sold during the month of May. According to the company, that's a decrease of 27.9 percent compared to the same month last year. For the second month in a row, the Yaris continues to nosedive with only 1,690 units sold, a decrease of 56.4 percent from May 2010 sales. The Prius also took a deep plunge with 6,924 units sold compared to 14,248 during May 2010, a decrease of 47.4 percent.
The newly redesigned Scion tC continues to sell strongly with 2,664 units sold, an increase of 119 percent. The Scion xD squeaked by with a 1.1 percent increase for the month of May.
Toyota trucks and SUVs were up slightly for the month of April, but couldn’t hold on for May. Overall sales were down 17.3 percent for trucks and 20.2 percent for SUVs. The Tundra and the Land Cruiser took the biggest hit with a decrease of 45 and 31.3 percent respectively. The Toyota Tacoma was lone model to post an increase; last month 9,091 customers purchased the Tacoma, compared to 8,630 during May 2010, an increase of 14.1 percent.
Lexus – 5681 Units, Down 40 Percent
Supply shortages are taking a big hit on Lexus models including the new CT 200h hybrid, which is nearly sold out. For the month of May, Lexus sold only 454 CTs, compared to 875 units sold during April. The HS 250h hybrid posted 220 units sold last month compared to 1,360 during May 2010, a staggering 82.5 percent decrease. The RX crossover, usually a superstar for Lexus, experienced a 30.5 decrease for the month of May.
Honda – 81,773 Units, Down 16.1 Percent
Honda sold 81,773 units last month, a decrease of 16.1 percent compared to May 2010 -- yet that's exactly what Honda's top brass expected.
"May sales are on par with what we expected due to the lingering effects of parts and production shortages resulting from the devastating March 11 earthquake in Japan," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda. "We are confident that sales will rebound as our North American plants reach 100-percent production capacity for most models in August."
The Honda Fit posted the biggest gain with 5,921 units sold last month, an increase of 46.3 percent compared to May 2010. The Odyssey minivan also experienced an uptick with 9,428 sold, which was 5.5 percent more compared to the same month in 2010. Losers include the Honda Ridgeline with 672 units sold (60.7 percent decrease) and the Accord with 18,185 units sold (34.5 percent decrease).
Acura – 9000 Units, Down 17.1 Percent
All Acura models except the MDX experienced a decrease in sales for the month of May. The automaker sold 3,824 MDX SUVs compared to 4,064 during May 2010, a slight increase of 1.9 percent. The RL and the ZDX posted the biggest loss with a decrease of 58.4 and 54.5 percent respectively.
Nissan – 69,759 Unites, Down 7.8 Percent
Nissan, which experienced the biggest sales gain in April (up 14.5 percent) took the smallest hit for the month of May. The Altima continues to dominate the brand’s sales figures with 25,525 units sold, an increase of 16.3 percent. It’s also an increase from last month when Nissan sold just 17,232 Altimas. Nissan sold 1,142 Leafs and 1,984 Jukes during the month of May.
Nissan trucks were down 12.5 percent with the Titan taking the biggest hit with a 43.8 percent decrease compared to May 2010. Nissan did well with the Frontier and sold 4,674 units, an increase of 25 percent compared to the same month last year. The automaker sold 873 newly redesigned Quest minivans.
Infiniti – 6389 Units, Down 21 Percent
Nissan luxury division took a 6.2 percent plunge for the month of April and the number decreases to 21 percent for the month of May. Surprisingly, the full-sized QX56 SUV posted 779 units sold, which was an 11 percent increased compared to May 2010. All other models, however, posted sales losses. The EX35 took the biggest hit with 441 sold compared to 687 from May 2010, a decrease of 35.8 percent.
Toyota, Lexus, Honda and Acura percentages are based on daily selling rate
Source: Toyota, Honda, Nissan