Accord, Civic lift Honda; Acura sputters

American Honda Motor Co. rode strong car demand to a February U.S. sales record after a sluggish start to the year.

Honda reported sales of 118,985 vehicles, a 13 percent rise from a year earlier. Honda brand sales jumped 15 percent to 106,212, also a new high mark, while monthly Acura deliveries fell for the second time this year.

Still, the results place American Honda on a comeback track. Its 1.7 percent January sales decline trailed the industry’s 0.4 percent drop. The automaker hasn’t gained U.S. market share since 2012.

Growth in American Honda car sales exceeded gains by its light trucks, even as industrywide sales of light trucks outpace those of cars. American Honda car sales including Acura rose 16 percent to 61,950, while truck sales jumped 9.3 percent to 57,035.

The Civic broke its February record as U.S. sales rose 32 percent from a year earlier to 27,707. The Accord also posted a strong month as sales increased 19 percent to 25,785. Sales of the Fit subcompact car slid 36 percent and volume of the CR-Z hybrid dropped 27 percent.

The CR-V crossover had its best February on record, rising 13 percent to 25,250, while the Odyssey minivan gained 11 percent. The HR-V crossover sold 4,940 units in its first month of February sales.

Sales of the Honda Pilot crossover, fresh off a redesign, fell 24 percent to 9,572, a decline Honda attributed to sell-down efforts of the old Pilot.

Each Acura vehicle had year-over-year sales declines except for the ILX compact car. ILX sales rose 56 percent on the month to 1,500.

TLX sedan sales fell 9.9 percent to 3,080. MDX and RDX crossover sales declined 5.7 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

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