Late Summer Surge for Japanese Auto Makers, Autumn Looking Good for Sales Forecasts

By Jason Davis | October 03, 2011
Sales were up for most Japanese automakers in September, but Toyota and Honda were still down, despite growing signs of hope. Still recovering from the March earthquake and Tsunami, Toyota returned to full capacity late in the month, and Honda, too, is finally up to full production. Nissan continued its recent sales success, as did Mitsubishi, Mazda, Scion, and Suzuki. Toyota, Lexus, and Scion
Toyota sold 58,237 cars last month, a 19.3 percent decrease from September 2010, and 48,219 trucks, vans, and SUV's, down 17.0 percent in the same time period. Lexus sold 14,995 units in September, an 11.5 percent decrease from September 2010. Scion was up 7.7 percent in September, selling 3838 vehicles. "In September, production in both North America and Japan returned to normal levels for the first time since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Our plants are now working overtime and dealer deliveries will continue to increase through the remainder of 2011. With the 2012 Camry launch off to a great start, the timing couldn't be better," said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. For the year to this point, Toyota Motor Sales is down 9.3 percent.
  • Camry and Camry Hybrid sold 24,851 units, down 19.3 percent from September 2010
  • Scion tC sold 1752 units, up 78.6 percent year-over-year
Nissan and Infiniti
Nissan sold 84,485 vehicles last month, up 28.2 percent over September 2010. Infiniti sold 8479 vehicles, an increase of just 2.1 percent from the same time period. “Thanks to a strong and diverse lineup of cars and trucks, Nissan division sales marked the best September in 26 years,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. “Nissan saw year-over-year growth across the board, from our cars—including the all-new Versa sedan—to our crossovers and trucks as well.”
  • Altima sold 24,356 units, a 21.7-percent increase over September 2010
  • The all-new Versa sold 11,800 units, up 68.1 percent
  • 1206 people were unaffected by rising gas prices last month, buying the full-size Infiniti QX, a 46.7-percent increase over September 2010
Honda and Acura
Honda sold 79,522 vehicles last month, down 8.2 percent from September 2010, but trending up compared to the last several months. "Our U.S. manufacturing facilities are finally up to full production and the results are starting to show with increased CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey sales,” said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of sales. "Truckloads of new vehicles began arriving the last week of September and shoppers can now feel more confident that they will find what they want at their local Honda dealer."
  • The CR-V crossover outsold both the Accord and Civic, with 19,604 (up 9.5 percent from September 2010) units to 18,639 (down 13.8 percent), and 13,724 (down 26.4 percent), respectively.
  • The Pilot was up 27.9 percent last month, at 10,306 units sold.
  • Acura TSX sold 3112 units, a 37.9-percent increase over September 2010
Mazda sold 25,521 vehicles last month, a 37.4-percent increase over September 2010 totals, and is up 9.5 percent on the year, thanks to gaudy sales numbers by CX-7 (up 90.8-perent), CX-9 (up 73.6 percent), Mazda6 (up 52.4 percent), Mazda2 (up 62.3 percent), and Mazda5 (up 54.4 percent). The Mazda3 was "only" up 11.4 percent. Mitsubishi Mitsubishi posted its 13th consecutive positive month, selling 5803 units, good for a 17-percent increase over September 2010, and is up 59.1 percent in 2011 compared to this point in 2010. "Consumers continue to be drawn to the styling, performance, and fuel efficiency of our Outlander Sport", said MMNA President & CEO Yoichi Yokozawa.  "Our momentum should be further enhanced when we launch a major advertising campaign later this month that focuses on next year's Outlander Sport production launch at our U.S. manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois, and next month's sales launch of our all-electric Mitsubishi i." Suzuki Suzuki sold 2026 models last month, and is up 23.0 percent on the month-to-date for the prior year, with only one current model not in the black.
  • Equator sold 187 units, up 58.0 percent from September 2010
  • SX4 almost broke the 1000-unit barrier, and is up 23.0 percent from September 2010
  • Kizashi sold 468 units, down just 2.0 percent
Subaru sold 20,934 vehicles last month, down 2.3 percent from September 2010, but its lowest-ever inventory, as a result of the March tsunami, held back consumer demand. “We extremely pleased to break 20,000 sales again this month, despite inventory constraints,” said Thomas J. Doll, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc.  “This momentum positions us well for a successful introduction of the all-new 2012 Impreza, which will hit dealer showrooms later this year.”
  • The Legacy and Forester were up 4.7 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, compared to September 2010
  • The Impreza was down 9.2 percent, but Subaru expects that number to rise with the introduction of the 2012 model