September was similar to June, July, and August 2011 for Japanese automakers, with Nissan again increasing sales, and Toyota and Honda still struggling to keep up. Though production for returning to normal in September, for the first time since the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March, it appears that getting back to pre-earthquake sales performance may still take some time.
Nissan North America
Nissan is up 25.3 percent, raising sales in September 2010 from 74,205 units to 92,964 in September 2011. The automaker also reports year-over-year sales gains for both Nissan and Infiniti brands in September. The Nissan brand is up 28.2 percent at 84,485 units sold, compared to the 65,900 units sold during the same month last year, while Infiniti rises slightly over last September, with sales of 8479 units compared to 8305 for a gain of 2.1 percent.
Nissan – 84,485 units sold, Up 28.2 percent
Nissan’s bread-and-butter Altima sedan once again led in sales volume, selling 24,356 units in September, compared to 20,016 units sold the same month last year – a gain of 21.7 percent. The Nissan Versa was second highest in volume, with 11,800 units sold in September. That number eclipses the 7081 units sold September 2010, and represents an increase of 68.1 percent, perhaps due in part to the new Versa sedan, which had its first full sales month in September. The Nissan Rogue also saw strong sales in September, gaining 2.9.1 percent with 10,740 units sold versus the 8318 units of the small crossover moved the same period last year.
But not all models came out ahead this past month. The Nissan Cube dropped 71.1 percent, with just 440 units sold compared to the 1523 Cube models sold September last year. The 370Z dropped 40.4 percent, with 469 units sold compared to 787 the same period last year.
Infiniti – 8479 units sold, Up 2.1 percent
The Infiniti G sedan range led sales volume for Nissan’s luxury marque, with 3940 units sold compared to the 3056 G sedan models moved in September 2010, representing a gain of 28.9 percent. The Infiniti QX SUV sold 1206 units, versus 822 the same period last year for a gain of 46.7 percent. The Infiniti M lost ground this past month, selling 905 units, compared to last September’s total of 1460 – a decrease of 38 percent. The EX crossover also came up short this past month, selling 610 units compared to the 747 sold the same period last year for a decrease of 18.3 percent.
American Honda Motor Company
Despite the automaker now claiming to be up to speed at all of its production facilities, overall sales were down for American Honda, dropping 8.0 percent from last September’s total of 97,362 units sold, at 89,532 this past month. Year-to-date, Honda is down 6.2 percent, with 859,797 units sold in the first three quarters of 2011, compared to 912,436 the same period last year. The Honda brand is down 8.2 percent, selling 79,522 units, shy of the 86,641 units sold in September 2010. The Acura division is down 7.9 percent, with 10,010 units sold, compared to the 10,720 Acura models sold September of last year.
Honda – 79,522 units sold, Down 8.2 percent
The CR-V was Honda’s sales volume leader, selling 19,604 units in September for a gain of 9.5 percent over the 17,907 sold the same period last year. The Accord was Honda’s second best-selling model of the month, moving 18,639 units. But despite high sales volume, the model was down 13.8 percent from September 2010, when 21,620 Accords were sold. The Honda Pilot increased sales by 27.9 percent over September of last year, selling 10,306 units, compared to the 8059 units sold the same period in 2010. Honda’s dedicated hybrid, the Insight, saw a substantial decrease in sales compared to September 2010, with just 512 units sold compared to 1679 last year, a loss of 69.5 percent. The hybrid hatchback CR-Z also took a hit in September, decreasing 56.6 percent at 537 units sold, compared to 1236 the same period last year. The Crosstour, which recently had its affiliation with the Accord severed, decreased 54.2 percent, with 1148 units sold compared to 2507 in September 2010. The new-for-2012 Civic is down 26.4 percent, with 13,724 units sold compared to the 18,637 units of the previous generation sold September of last year. Honda says assembly of that car is nearing full-production status.
Acura – 10,010 units sold, Down 6.6 percent
Acura reports the TSX experienced a record September, posting sales of 3112 units – a gain of 37.9 percent over the 2507 units sold September of last year. The rest of Acura’s lineup was down from September of the previous year. The aging RL lost the most ground, selling just 43 units compared to the 240 sold in September 2010, representing an 82.1-percent decrease. The ZDX crossover also didn’t fare as well as it did last September, moving 87 units compared to 251 the same month in 2010 for a loss of 65.3 percent. The newly refreshed and face-lifted TL was just a smidge below its performance in September 2010, selling 2507 units compared to 2514 last year, a decrease of 0.3 percent.
Toyota Motor Sales
Production hang-ups relating to the March earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan have apparently been resolved for Toyota, as the automaker reports that production in both North America and Japan returned to pre-earthquake levels in September. Still, Toyota was down overall for the month, posting total sales 106,456 vehicles compared to 130,214 units sold in September 2010, a decrease of 17.5 percent.
Toyota – 106,456 units sold, Down 18.2 percent
Sales of 24,851 Camry models led the Toyota brand’s sales volume, though that number is down 19.2 percent from the 30,769 units sold September of last year. The Corolla also saw a decrease in September, selling 16,147 units compared to the 21,060 units sold the same period in 2010, shrinking 23.3 percent. Toyota moved 9325 units of its dedicated hybrid Prius in September, down 18.2 percent from the same period last year, when 11,394 Prius models were sold.
Among Toyota’s light trucks, SUVs, and vans, the Sienna minivan led sales volume, posting sales of 8975 units in September. That number is down 9.5 percent from the 9920 units sold the same period last year. The low-volume Land Cruiser SUV was up 21.1 percent, with 132 units sold versus 109 in September 2010.
Lexus – 14,995 units sold, Down 11.5 percent
The ES 350 was the sales volume leader among Lexus’ passenger cars in September, with 3627 units sold, just shy of the 3697 units sold the same period last year – a decrease of 1.9 percent. The IS was up slightly for the month of September, raising 3.8 percent with 2539 units sold, compared to 2447 a year earlier. Lexus’ flagship LS, the first nameplate sold under the Lexus banner in the U.S., was also up slightly for the month, selling 729 units compared to 711 in September 2010 for a gain of 2.4 percent. Four more LFA supercar models were sold in September, bringing the total number sold in the U.S. to 44. The HS hybrid was down 67.5 percent, selling 231 units in September, compared to 711 the same month the previous year. The RX took the sales lead among Lexus’ SUVs, selling 5003 units, but sales of 7420 RX models a year prior makes for a decrease of 32.6 percent.
Scion – 3838 units sold, Up 7.7 percent
Scion came out ahead in September, partially due to relatively strong sales of its tC sports coupe, which led sales volume at 1752 units sold and was up 78.6 percent from the same month in 2010, when just 981 tC models were sold. The xB was close behind in sales volume, with 1415 units sold, but last September’s sales of 1687 units equate to a decrease of 16.1 percent for the quirky five-door. Down 24.9 percent, the xD nearly repeats its performance from last month, when the model was down 24.5 percent, posting sales of 671 units, compared to 894 the same month a year prior.
Source: Nissan, Honda, Toyota