Both Toyota and Honda continued to claw back customers in September. The former delivered 171,910 new vehicles last month, representing a 41.5 percent jump over its disaster-depressed numbers from the same month in 2011; the latter, with 117,211 September sales, grew volume by 30.9 percent in the same circumstances. The other member of the Japanese Big Three, Nissan, didn’t fare quite so well, however. Although that automaker rebounded quite quickly from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan early in 2011, it’s seen momentum slow a bit recently, and Nissan’s 91,907 deliveries last month marked a 1.1 percent dip from September 2011.
Of course, all three had highlights a-plenty, including …
September Auto Sales: Toyota Camry Is Country’s Top Car
Fending off a strong challenge from its Honda rival, the Toyota Camry continued as the best-selling car in America in September, thanks to a fairly massive 37.8 percent sales bounce. The Camry was the only car in the country to achieve more than 30,000 sales last month, delivering 34,525 units and a 37.8 percent increase in volume.
But perhaps even more impressive was the performance of the Toyota Corolla. It’s one of just two old-school compacts left in the mainstream marketplace, yet it was still No. 2 for volume in a very competitive segment. The bottom line for the Corolla: 23,026 sales and a 42.6 percent growth rate.
Also helping the automaker raise its sales by 41.5 percent and deliver 171,910 units in September:
- Toyota Prius—When the totals for the Toyota Prius c and Toyota Prius v are added to the mix, the company sold 18,943 Prii in September for a gain of 103 percent.
- Toyota RAV4—Toyota’s popular and affordable compact crossover, the RAV4, was ahead of last September’s pace by 80.4 percent on the strength of 13,796 sales.
- Toyota Highlander—The high-value Highlander turned in 10,927 sales that marked a 44.8 percent increase over September of 2011.
- Scion—All models were in the black for Scion last month, with the Scion tC leading in volume (2,186 sales, +27.1 percent) and the all-new Scion FR-S pitching in with 1,133 sales.
- Lexus—Sales of premium Lexus cars and crossovers shot forward by 36 percent in September, driven by fresh faces like the Lexus ES (6,553 sales, +80.7 percent), Lexus GS (1,454 sales, +408.4 percent) and Lexus RX (7,046 sales, +40.8 percent).
September Auto Sales: 2013 Honda Accord Debuts
The all-new 2013 Honda Accord started reaching dealerships part way through September and had an immediate impact on the company’s sales. Deliveries for the Accord itself were up by 56.6 percent, at 29,182 sales, while Honda as a whole (including Acura) benefited from a 30.9 percent growth rate and sold 117,121 vehicles.
"The all-new 2013 Accord hit dealerships in mid-September and our dealers are already seeing a significant increase in customer traffic surrounding the new model," said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of sales. "Combined with the strength of key models such as Civic, CR-V and Odyssey, Honda is once again firing on all cylinders as we enter fall."
Exactly how strong was that trio in September? The Honda Civic sold 21,546 units last month, up 58.6 percent; the Honda CR-V was the second-best-selling vehicle in its segment, with 22,268 deliveries (+13.6 percent); and the Honda Odyssey brought in 28.9 percent more customers than in the same month last year, selling 11,365 units.
Also notable was a 61.6 percent improvement in sales of the Honda Civic Hybrid, with 493 deliveries, and the September results for the Honda Crosstour (2,138 sales, +86.2 percent) and Honda Ridgeline (1,060 sales, +51.4 percent).
Even Honda’s premium division got in on the action in September, boasting three vehicles with at least double-digit gains and an overall 43.5 percent sales improvement (on 14,366 deliveries):
- Acura TL—3,236 sales, +29.1 percent
- Acura MDX—4,692 sales, +60.4 percent
- Acura RDX—2,938 sales, +119.9 percent
September Auto Sales: Nissan Stays the Course
As a result of high sales levels in 2011, increased competition in 2012 and a wave of all-new 2013 products still in the process of getting to dealerships, Nissan endured a 1.1 percent decrease in sales last month, reporting 91,907 deliveries. Which doesn’t mean Nissan’s September sales figures were totally devoid of good news.
For example, the Nissan Rogue stretched its streak of record-breaking sales months to a sweet 16, courtesy of 12,106 deliveries that were 12.7 percent higher than in September 2011. And the Nissan Sentra saw a 15.3 percent sales increase and 9,345 deliveries, even as customers were waiting for the next-gen model to debut on October 16. Much the same is likely going on with the Nissan Pathfinder, too; sales were up a healthy 38.7 percent last month, on 3,205 deliveries, but the all-new model—recently added to the short list of North American Truck of the Year contenders—should bring in even more customers once it arrives later this fall. Finally, yet one more completely redesigned Nissan—the 37-mpg Nissan Altima—is in stores now, but with inventories still filling out, its September sales total of 24,448 units was just 88 more than in the same month in 2011.
On the more premium side of the Nissan ledger, the Infiniti JX, also on the Truck of the Year short list, captured 2,251 sales during its inaugural September on the market, and the Infiniti FX, which gains a more powerful standard engine for the 2013 model year, also gained 1,659 sales (+127.6 percent).