Honda volume slides 5.2%; Acura falls 18%

LOS ANGELES — American Honda emerged as one of the few dark spots in U.S. sales last month, saying that its November sales slid 5.2 percent to 115,441 vehicles even as most of the auto industry saw modest gains.

Despite the decrease, American Honda remained disciplined with its incentive spending. The automaker averaged just $1,931 per vehicle, the second lowest in the industry, which averaged $3,066, according to Only Subaru — with just $689 spent per vehicle — was lower.

Sales for the Honda division fell 3.5 percent to 103,197 vehicles.

“Honda’s sales were a mixed bag, with some promise and some surprising dips,” said Akshay Anand, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

Car sales stand out

Sales bright spots included the Civic — the 10th generation of which went on sale midmonth — with an 8.6 percent gain and the redesigned Pilot, which jumped 19 percent. Sales of the Accord edged up 1.2 percent.

“The Accord and Civic had some challenges in 2015, but both posted strong November results,” Anand said. “This is important since much of the industry’s growth has been fueled by SUVs and trucks.”

Yet Honda’s uber-popular CR-V compact crossover failed to join the industrywide trend of strong light-truck growth, with its sales dropping 20 percent from a year earlier to a Honda division-leading 25,931.

“This is partially due to comparisons of the redesign that sold well in 2014,” Anand said. “If the CR-V can right the ship in December, it will be a good month for Honda.”

Acura angst

Things were even grimmer at Acura.

After much of 2015 was highlighted by jumps in ILX and TLX sedan sales, the wheels came off Honda’s luxury brand in November. Sales dropped 18 percent to 12,244.

Every model Acura sells — except the RDX compact crossover — saw double-digit sales declines. Sales of the RDX, the brand’s volume leader, rose 7.4 percent to a November record 3,691.

“Getting ILX and TLX back on track is key, as MDX and RDX should continue to do well,” Anand said. “Both are in a tough spot as more entrants hit the high $20k, low $30k price point from non-luxury and luxury OEMs alike across multiple segments.”

Jon Ikeda, Acura’s general manager, acknowledged the tough road ahead for Honda’s luxury brand.

“We also recognize and embrace the challenges of an ultra-competitive luxury market,” Ikeda said in a statement, “as we sharpen our portfolio with products like the technologically advanced NSX and continue to build the brand with highly desirable vehicles throughout the lineup.”

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